Summary: At times we doubt, we lose faith. What is the cure for doubt? We find the answer in Jesus.
Are you a skeptical person? When you hear something, you don’t believe it right away – you doubt it. You’re cautious. You’re careful. Skeptical. I’m skeptical about a lot of things. When I receive an email from someone – and they say that are in Nigeria and that they would like me to give me 2 million dollars – all I need to do is to give them my bank account information and my social security number – I’m not so sure about that. I’m skeptical. I don’t believe it. I think it’s a scam. When I receive a big postcard in the mail in the middle of winter that tells me that I have just received a free trip to the Bahamas – all expenses paid – all I need to do is a few things listed in the fine print at the bottom of the postcard – I’m skeptical. I don’t believe that it’s really true, and by the time I’m done reading the fine print, I know that it isn’t as great as it appears to be.
We live in a skeptical world, and with good reason. There are all kinds of people out there, making all kinds of extreme claims and extreme promises, and if you trust everyone, some will take advantage of you. You need to be careful. Cautious. In some cases, skeptical. You can’t believe everything.
Can you believe everything in the Bible? Do you actually believe that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead? Is that really true? Is Jesus really God and man at the same time? Am I really saved from going to a place called hell because of this Jesus? Is that really true? Is he the only way to heaven? Is there such a things as heaven? Do I actually believe that someday I will rise from the dead?
Have you ever felt yourself doubt? Have you ever felt yourself wonder if all these things are true? Why are you a Christian anyway? Are you a Christian because your parents raised you that way, and that’s what everyone else around you believes? Or, are you a Christian because you actually believe the doctrines of Christianity? Do you doubt sometimes? Have you ever had a moment in your life when you wondered to yourself: “I don’t know if I really believe. Is all of this true? I don’t know!”
Today, we’re going to talk about doubt, as we look at that moment when Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. We’re also going to look at the cure for doubt. If you want to know what to do, where to go, when you are struggling with doubt, you will find that today as well, as we look at this portion of God’s Word.
In this section of Scripture, we meet Thomas. Like some of you this morning, Thomas had a Christian education. No, he didn’t go to a Lutheran grade school or high school or anything like that. Some might say that his version of a Christian education was better. He was one of the twelve apostles. For three years, he followed Jesus Christ. He listened to him. He watched him. He saw it all and heard it all – live. Can you imagine spending three years with God, three years with Jesus? What a Christian education Thomas had! He was a believer.
But that Easter night, he was skeptical. He had doubts. Can you see yourself as you think about Thomas? The other disciples told him that Jesus had appeared to them, but Thomas said – no. I won’t believe it. I need to see Jesus with my eyes. I need to touch Jesus’ wounds with my hands. I need physical proof.
Why was Thomas so skeptical? You see, Thomas had trusted that Jesus was the Messiah. But then things happened that made him think that he had put all of his trust in the wrong place. Jesus had been arrested, even though he was all-powerful. Jesus had been tortured, even though he was God. It didn’t make any sense to Thomas. Jesus had been crucified, even though he could walk on water and heal people of their diseases. And then he died, even though he could raise people from the dead. None of this made any sense to Thomas. He had trusted in Jesus, but then all of these things happened that made it look like he had put his trust in the wrong place. Now he was skeptical. Now he was doubting.
Would you have been any different? Can you see yourself in Thomas? Why do you and I sometimes have doubts? Isn’t it because there are things that happen in life that make us wonder if we are putting our trust in the wrong place? I believe in Jesus. But then my child dies. My spouse dies. I believe in Jesus. But then I get sick, and I don’t get better. I believe in Jesus. But then I lose my job, and I can’t find a new one, and I’m falling behind. I believe in Jesus. But bad things happen in my life, and they make me wonder – is there really a God? All these things I have learned from the Bible – are they really true? Have I put my trust in the wrong place? Why am I a Christian? Do I really believe?