Summary: We have many reasons to doubt. Here's one reason to believe.
Are you a skeptical person? Do you believe everything you hear, right away? Or does it take awhile before you believe something to be true? The other day I got an email from someone who said that they were my long lost relative. They were trapped somewhere in Nigeria, and needed me to send $5000 to the First Bank of Nigeria. Should I believe that email? Or should I be skeptical? Well, I hope it wasn't my long lost relative, because I deleted it.
A few months ago I received a postcard in the mail telling me that I could go to the Caribbean for free - this big postcard with a beautiful picture of a beach on it. Should I believe that postcard? There was some small print on the postcard about how the airfare wasn't free, and the hotel really wasn't free either.
Lots of people say lots of things - how much do you believe? How much do you doubt? For almost two thousand years, Christians have been saying that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Do you believe it? A lot of people don't. A lot of people are skeptical - this is just another scam - the church just wants your money, just like everyone else. Is the resurrection of Jesus real? Maybe you believe it now. But will you believe it 20 years from now, 40 years from now. Could there be anything that happens in your life that would cause you to change your mind?
This morning, we're going to look at a part of the Bible where Jesus doubt is discussed. And we're going to see what the one and only cure for doubt is, as the Bible describes it. May God bless you with a firm belief in Jesus now, and throughout your whole life, as we study the Scripture together.
What typically happens at your house on Easter night? At our house, we put the kids to bed, and they are typically exhausted from waking up too early and eating too much candy throughout the day. Then we spend time finding all those little pieces of plastic green grass all over the house, and we try to clean things up.
For the disciples in the first century, the atmosphere was a little different. They were locked up in a house. They were afraid. Just a few days ago, they had witnessed Jesus executed, and now people were saying that he was alive. And then suddenly, Jesus stood among them. And everyone was overjoyed except for one disciple, and that was Thomas. He wasn't with them that night, and when he came back later and they told him that they saw Jesus alive, he wouldn’t believe it. He was skeptical.
I won’t believe it, he said. I need to see Jesus with my eyes. I need to touch Jesus’ wounds with my hands. I need physical proof. Otherwise, I won't believe.
Why was Thomas so skeptical? You see, Thomas didn’t want to get burned again. For 3 years, he had followed Jesus and thought he was the Messiah. He was a believer! But then he saw things and heard things that made him feel like something was not right. He saw Jesus arrested, even though he was all-powerful. He saw Jesus tortured and shouted at by the crowds, and crucified, even though Jesus was God and could walk on water and calm storms. He saw Jesus die, even though Jesus could raise people from the dead. None of this made any sense to Thomas. Everything he saw contradicted his beliefs. And he wasn't about to go through that again. That's why he was so skeptical.
Isn’t that why you and I sometimes doubt about what we believe? Last year I surveyed the students I teach in religion class. The number one thing they wondered about was if they believed the right thing. Is Christianity really the right religion? Are all these things I believe about Jesus really true? Sometimes, I have doubts, the students wrote. Do you ever have doubts?
What is the one thing that might cause you to doubt what you believe. It's trouble, isn't it? Real trouble that comes into your life. Did you realize that this is the number one objection to Christianity? A non-Christian will say, "The reason I am skeptical about Christianity is because of all the evil, all the trouble, I see in the world. How could God let that happen?
How could God let that happen? Your child is diagnosed with cancer. Someone dies that's not supposed to die. I just a student in my office the other day - his dad went to bed and never woke up. How could God let that happen? Have you ever had a moment in your life when you doubted the love of God? People fall away from God all the time - why? Because something bad happened?