Summary: An Easter message based on the apostle Thomas and his initial doubting of the resurrection of Jesus. When we say, "I will not," Jesus says, "I will."
April 1, 2018
David Simpson, Lanier Christian Church
It’s ironic that this year Easter falls on April Fools day. Have you ever fallen for an April Fools joke or prank? I know as a kid there was always some classmate pulling a prank on someone, with the rest of us in on it and watching that poor soul make a fool of themselves by believing the prank. Well, there have been some rather dubious April Fools Day pranks on a national scale. Maybe you even fell for one of these April fool’s day hoaxes:
On April 1, 1996, The Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers announcing it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
On April 1, 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper…" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version." (Both stories from: Hoaxes.org – The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time)
People are still falling for hoaxes every day due to the power of the internet and social media, like Facebook. Fake news stories appear quite often and mislead a lot of people. It causes many today to say “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Such skepticism is not new. In fact, there is a well-known disciple of Jesus who was quite skeptical about the news that Jesus had conquered death and come back to life. Because of his skepticism, we call him “doubting Thomas.” Thomas did not want to be called a fool. He did not want to be pranked. When told about the resurrection of Jesus, he said these famous words, as recorded in John 20:25 -
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “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.” John 20:25
“I will not believe,” said Thomas. He did not want to be fooled. I can relate to Thomas. I don’t like to be fooled either. I am very skeptical about anything that sounds too good to be true. At a local restaurant that my family frequents I was recently charged $1.07 for my takeout order. I said, “that can’t be right.” But the manager said, “No, that’s right. Thank you for eating with us.” Doubt filled my mind. This can’t be happening. Does that describe you? We are often guilty of saying: “I will not believe.”
Oh, we don’t often admit to others our doubts, but the “I will not believe” slogan often appears in our thoughts and actions.
We say: “God answers prayer,” but we work behind the scenes acting as if the answer to our prayer depends on us, not on Him. When we do that, we are basically saying: “I will not believe.”
We say: “God provides for my every need,” but we work very hard at making sure that God only steps in when we can’t provide for whatever we think our needs are. When we do that, we are saying: “I will not believe.”
We say: “My faith conquers my fear,” but often we cling to our worries and fears rather than release them to God. When we do that, we are saying: “I will not believe.”
We say: “Thy will be done,” but for many “doing it my way” seems to be more the truth about how we really conduct our lives. When we do that, we are saying: “I will not believe.”
We sing: “I’ll fly away, O glory; When I die, Hallelujah by and by; I’ll fly away,” but do we really anticipate our heavenly home, or do we mainly postpone any talk about eternal things? Because we refuse to learn more about the truth of our heavenly home to come, we are often guilty of saying: “I will not believe.”