Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Source of Doubt
On the Sunday after Jesus’ resurrection, our Gospel lesson tells us that most of Jesus’ first disciples were afraid. They had locked themselves in a room, fearful that their fellow Jews would come after them as they had gone after their Lord Jesus. Jesus had died a horrible death on a cross.If you do not feel like you have just been hit between the eyes with a sack of wet sand, I suggest you read that again. What wonderful insight! Thomas' doubts were rooted not necessarily in a lack of faith in Christ, but in a lack of evidence of Christ in those that had seen Him resurrected! Is there any insight more damning to us as individuals or to the church?
And even though they had seen the risen Jesus, they still huddled in fear in that locked room. The only one of their number who felt bold enough to walk the streets of Jerusalem was a guy who hadn’t seen the risen Lord, who refused to believe in Jesus’ resurrection: Thomas.
Thomas had every right to think that if Jesus really had risen from the dead, it would shuffle the priorities of his fellow disciples, that they would be out in the world telling others the good news that God so loved the world He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. He would be safe in assuming that if the other disciples really had encountered the risen Jesus, they’d be bold in confronting evil, illness, injustice, poverty, hopelessness, and unbelief. If we believe in the risen Jesus, it ought to make a difference in how we live.
How do you respond to someone in doubt? Do you try and argue with them? Maybe we should invite them to simply see our lives? Or, are our lives evidence enough? That is the key question.
We are so prone to "leaving matters up to the Holy Spirit." Indeed, things are up to the Holy Spirit, but how often we forget we are his tools. If you have ever built anything, then you know, the better the tool, the easier the construction.
I recently used the wood shop I inherited from my father to built a book case for some young friends that were getting married. I had a choice to buy one "universal" saw blade or three single purpose blades (Ripping, cross cut, and plywood). I bought the universal blade (yeah I was cheap). And then I cut my first piece of plywood. There was so much chipping that it would have added several weeks to the project in patching to continue. So, back to the store I trotted.
We need to grow in our walk with Christ so that we can be not merely useful, but good tools. If we don't we may condemn some to doubt.