Summary: When we are doubting, Jesus meets us at our point of need to dispel our doubts, so we can believe.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
A few weeks ago I went to Macau, which is near Hong Kong. It was my first trip there, and it is not an easy place to get to. I flew to Hong Kong and took a ferry to Macau. The ferry took one hour and I waited an hour to clear customs and immigration in Macau. It took 4 hours to fly from Tokyo to Hong Kong, and it took 4 hours to get from Hong Kong International Airport to my hotel in Macau.
Macau is famous for its casinos and people go there to gamble. It is very similar to Las Vegas, a city in my country. The casinos are open 24 hours a day and people spend all their time at the casinos, gambling. It was sad to see, because people might get rich by gambling, but it will not give them the fulfillment and satisfaction only Jesus can give.
When I was in my country I went to Virginia with my sisters, and we visited the camps we went to when we were children. The Virginia countryside was very pretty and it was a contrast to the Tokyo metroplex with 35 million people. I also visited a missionary friend in New Jersey.
All the places I stayed in did not have air conditioning, and I was very happy to come back to my air conditioned apartment in Soka and to Simone.
Last week I appreciated Pastor Hirunuma’s message. He asked the question, “Who is Jesus?” We all need to decide who Jesus is and whether we believe in Him or not. We are going to see the unbelief of one of Jesus apostles turn into belief today.
I might also tell you that last year I visited the Hirunuma’s and stayed with them for 2 days when I was in Chicago. I really felt like I was in Japan when I was in their apartment. First, everyone spoke Japanese, like everyone here speaks Japanese. Second a train track went right by their apartment. I live close to the train tracks. And third, every time a train went by the building shook a little. I thought we were having an earthquake. So I felt like I was right back in Japan when I stayed with the Hirunuma’s.
Easter Sunday is one of the most joyful Sundays of the year. It is a time of rejoicing because Jesus has risen from the dead. His resurrection showed He had power over, sin, over death and over hell. Those of us who believe in Him share with Him in that victory. It is our ultimate hope, because like Jesus, our bodies one day too, will be raised from the dead. We have eternal life with Him.
But look with me in the 20th chapter of John’s gospel, because instead of joy there is a lot of gloom. Jesus had spent His last hours with His disciples feeding them, washing their feet and encouraging them. He was preparing them to carry on His mission after He rose from the dead and went back to His Father. The disciples were to continue Jesus’ ministry.
When Jesus was arrested the disciples lost all their hope. And even after Jesus rose from the dead they still doubted. Even hearing the news that Jesus had risen from the dead did not dispel their doubts and fears. In John’s gospel Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and then to the disciples. Jesus’ personally appearing to them was the only thing that turned their doubts and fears into belief.
Think of it this way. Jesus made many promises to the disciples; the promise of eternal life, the promise of a kingdom, and many other promises. When He was arrested and crucified it looked like everything He had promised would not happen. Jesus made many claims about Himself. Now, with His death the disciples were asking if these claims were really true.
We’re going to look at Jesus appearance to one of His disciples, Thomas. He is often referred to as “Doubting Thomas.” A couple of years ago, I called Mrs. Noguchi, my Japanese teacher and told her that one of my cats was going to die. She then told me she just got a cat. He was a kitten and his name was Thomas. She said she wanted to name him after a Bible character. He was very cute because he was only a few weeks old. Thomas was one of Jesus’ apostles. He could be pessimistic. For example in John 11 Jesus received word that Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha was very sick. Jesus had left Jerusalem because the Jews wanted to kill Him. When Jesus decided to go to Bethany, where Lazarus was sick, look at Thomas’ reply in John 11:16.