Summary: God's word is all we need to keep us from doubting.
Text: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25).
“Unless I see” are words that indicate doubt. If we doubt, we do not believe or we are skeptical. If we doubt, we are uncertain. Also, if we doubt, we very possibly lack trust.
Has there ever been a time in your life when doubt crept in? Have you ever been faced with a situation that seemed beyond your capabilities? Was there ever a time when you wanted to do something or accomplish some feat or achieve some goal that seemed impossible?
I believe all of us have had times of doubt. Some young people have doubts about living up to their parent’s expectations or reaching goals set forth by their teachers or mentors. Most teachers attempt to encourage their students to reach out for their dreams, no matter how far-fetched or unrealistic they may appear. This is good, but on the other hand, doubt could enter that student’s mind because of his or her own lack of faith or distrust in the person trying to encourage them.
There are people who doubt the economy will get better anytime soon. These are difficult times in which we are living. There are many people out of work; banks are foreclosing on homeowners; food prices are on the increase, and gasoline is at the $4.00 level. Doubt is entering the minds of many people because there seems to be no relief on the horizon.
Doubt is a thought that Satan likes to instill in the minds of God’s people. He wants people to lose hope in God and follow the ways of the world. People do not believe or doubt they will find work because the more they try the more rejections they get.
After being rejected time after time and no sign of acceptance, people view stealing and robbing as the way to go. They really want to believe, but doubt seems to take control. This is the time Satan is laughing and rejoicing because the person’s focus has now shifted away from the hope in God and onto the wide road of destruction.
Satan is a tempter. He tempted Jesus three different times, but Jesus stood on His Father’s Word. We, too, need to remember the Word and let Satan know we are grounded on the Word. When we follow the ways of the world, we are following the ways of the prince of this world. That prince is Satan himself.
Think about Jesus and His disciples. They ministered together for about three years. Jesus taught them the way to live and He taught them right from wrong. He told them they were the “…salt of the earth….and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14).
Jesus taught the disciples about loving everyone. He said to them, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44). He taught them about “fasting” (Matthew 6:17); about “money” (Matthew 6:20); about “worry” (Matthew 6:25); “asking, seeking, and knocking” (Matthew 7:7), as well as many other things.
They were with Him when He performed miracles. They saw him “heal a man of leprosy” (Matthew 8:3); “heal Peter’s Mother-in-law” (Matthew 8:15); “calm the storm” (Matthew 8:26), as well as many other miracles. The disciple’s were very special to Jesus. He carefully chose each one of them and they comprised the “King’s cabinet” or inner circle of friends.
Jesus knew the disciples before He ever chose them. He knew how they would respond to Him, how they would treat Him and at some point, they would desert Him. These men were ordinary, but in some respects special. I say special, because He chose each one to carry on His mission after His ascension.
During Jesus’ ministry, the disciples felt pretty secure. They received Jesus’ attention and He gave them direction. He was a teacher and they were His students. They hung on every word that came from Jesus’ mouth. They were family. They celebrated Passover together and participated in the special meal which was the “Lords Supper”.
The disciples trusted Jesus and they were obedient to Him. Although He told them on three different occasions about His death, but they didn’t get the message. The first time Jesus said to the disciples, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Luke 9:21).
On another occasion, Jesus said to the disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of God is going to be betrayed into the hands of men” (Luke 9:44). That is rather plain language, but yet the disciples did not understand. Actually, the meaning was hidden from them and they did not pursue the issue any further.