The Day I Doubted Continue reading
The Day I Doubted Continue reading
When You Have Weak Faith In An Almighty God
The Tale Of Two Firefighters
There were two firefighters on the roof of a burning building. Continue reading
Let’s Also Go, So We Can Die With Him
So you’re a doubter. Or maybe you know someone who is. You might be interested to hear the story of a doubter in the Bible.
Here’s the scene: The Jews tried to kill Jesus in Judea near Jerusalem. So Jesus is hanging with his disciples a safe distance away in the area of Jericho. It’s then that Jesus hears about his good friend coming down with a fatal illness. People are begging him to come and help because things have gotten to the point where he’s the only possible solution. The only problem is Jesus’ friend has fallen ill near Jerusalem. So if Jesus goes to help, he’ll have to return to the same area where the Jews just tried to assassinate him. But Jesus says, without any apparent concern, “Let’s go there again.”
The disciples react, they say, “The Jews just tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?”
And it’s at this point that Thomas, commonly known as “Doubting Thomas,” says something amazing. He says, Continue reading
Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8
Why Do I Doubt?
In our last post, Doubt, Faith, and Reason, we looked at how a firefighter decided to risk his own life and crawl through a window into a burning building to save three children. And we saw how his decision making process is related to our choosing to believe (or not believe) in the gospel accounts.
In today’s post we’ll look at one of the reasons why we doubt.
Getting to Know a Firefighter
Yesterday a candidate for a firefighter position at Medford Fire-Rescue contacted me asking for advice about how to get hired. Before I started writing full time, I was involved in the hiring process for the fire department. I’m pretty sure we have the most thorough process in the state. We start with an application screening and end with a background check that’s incredibly thorough. Before we hire someone we know them just about as well as you can know someone without living with them. Which is important because firefighters have a unique schedule, and because of their unique schedule they live with each other almost a third of their lifetime during their career. It’s also important because once he or she is hired, the department and the community will probably be stuck with this person, for better or for worse, for thirty years or so.
But here’s the thing, no matter how thorough our process, and no matter how deep we go with our background investigation, we don’t really get to know the candidate until he’s been with us for a few years. There have been a few backgrounds Continue reading
Last Post: Tolkien, Lewis, and the Gospel
In our last post (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts) we saw the impact (on me at least) of C.S. Lewis’ opinion of the gospels. Lewis, a former atheist, a professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and an expert in ancient literature, wrote that the gospels are either a documented account of the life of Jesus, or, “some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative.” In other words, C.S. Lewis believed the scriptures to be true. (I posted Lewis’ statement on Reddit and a commenter, SuddenlySeymour, with a masters degree in English Literature explained it better than I ever could. If you’re interested, you can read what he wrote in the NOTES section at the bottom of this post.)
Why Should I Listen?
The next thing we explored in the last post was the next logical step after learning of Lewis’ conclusion. And that step is to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life very carefully. Because if those accounts are true as C.S. Lewis asserts that they are, then when we read the gospel accounts, we’re reading a documented account of the life and words of the Son of God Himself.
The Son of God Himself. No one’s life can be more important than his. No one’s world view can be more important than his. No one’s words can be more important than his. He said he came to save lives, eternal lives, and I want to explore that. But before we continue I think it will be helpful to first look at how firefighters decide to save lives.
Why Dive Through a Window Into a Burning Building? Continue reading
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 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.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Missing Sunday Meeting
It’s Sunday and the disciples have assembled together. The disciples had met the Sunday before but Thomas wasn’t with them. Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to them. The disciples shared the good news of Jesus’ resurrection but Thomas 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)
Too bad Thomas missed that meeting. Had he made it, he would have experienced the bodily presence of Jesus and believed a week early. His doubt would have been erased and his faith would have been increased. But because Thomas missed that last meeting his doubt endured.
You know, if you think about it, something similar happened when Jesus appeared to the 500 after the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:6 tells us there were 500 present when Jesus commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised… …in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)
Yet in Acts 1:15 it appears that only 120 of them listened and obeyed Jesus’ words. That’s huge! That means 380 missed the meeting in the upper room described in Acts 1:15. That also means 380 missed out on the blessing of the Holy Spirit. 120 had tongues of fire on their heads and spoke powerfully in foreign languages they didn’t know. 120 were used to save the souls of 3,000 people. (Acts chapter 2) 380 were left out–because they missed the meeting.
Verse 24 of John 20 says that Thomas was also known as Didymus. Didymus means twin in the Greek, so who’s twin is he?
He’s the twin of you and he’s the twin of me.
Have you ever missed a meeting with the Lord? I know I have. Missing meetings means missing out. Missing out on experiencing fellowship with the body of Christ. Missing out on believing. Missing out on increased faith. Had Thomas made it to the first meeting he would have seen Jesus and believed. His doubt would have been erased and his faith would have been increased!
That’s what happens to us when we make meetings.
Because Thomas missed the last meeting his doubt endured. It’s the same with you and the same with me. When we miss meetings, when we miss hearing the word of God whatever doubts we have endure.
No doubt Thomas and the 380 had their reasons for missing. They worked hard all week so they were too tired, or they didn’t care for someone who they knew would be attending that meeting, or there was a good game on TV that morning. But whatever their reason, when they missed the meeting they missed out on experiencing the presence of Jesus in a unique way. They missed out on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. They missed out on a tremendous blessing.
Oh twin of doubting Thomas, don’t you see that Thomas didn’t believe until he touched Jesus? Don’t you see it’s the same for you today? You won’t believe until you touch Him.
So touch him. Study Jesus’ life in the scriptures. Encounter Jesus with His believers. Do these things and you too will believe! Like Thomas, you too will find yourself responding to him, saying, “My Lord and my God!”
You’ll never regret it, I promise you!
Make the meeting.
Go to church.
The image is of the painting Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio circa 1600, Wikimedia.org, Public Domain