Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

15. From Doubt to Devotion – Part 2

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John 20:19-29
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” 26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” 28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. 29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

It’s here in Thomas refusal that we see the:
3. Response of Jesus –Vs 26-27

a. Manifestation – Vs 26
How does Jesus dismantle our Doubt? He shows up in the midst of our struggle. The disciples heard Thomas’ words, but there was an unseen listener as well, the Lord. That’s something we all need to remember. The risen but unseen Christ witnessed Thomas’ dogmatic statement of doubt, just as he knows ours, whether its spoken or only in our mind. A whole week passed from Thomas’ first statement of doubt until Jesus showed up and we might think that Jesus would have showed up at the first hint of doubt, but that was not to be. God’s timing in dealing with our doubt is his own affair. Thomas was left to reflect on his words for 7 days, talk about a weary week. Day after day he heard the repeated story of Christ’s appearances, oh how the days must have dragged as he grappled with his doubt, tossed between hope and despair , fear and faith, wondering if he would ever be able to experience and share what the other disciples had. Then a week later, the disciples, with Thomas present were gathered together behind locked doors when Jesus shows up. Notice they are in the same place; the same circumstances, still seeking refuge from the authorities using man made means, trusting in locks instead of the Lord. We criticize Thomas for living in doubt but notice that even though Christ had appeared to the disciples bringing both His peace and His plan, the disciples were still living behind and leaning on locked doors. Maybe the reason Thomas didn’t believe them was because their words didn’t match their walk. Parents don’t preach what you are not willing to practice. Model the message don’t just mouth it. It’s here that we see that we are all prone to being disciples of doubt. But Even though you have had an authentic encounter with the living Lord there will still be times of doubt. The Christian life is a journey, not a destination. But it’s into our doubt and despondency that Christ comes, like a shaft of sunlight piercing the darkness of our doubt. The answer to our affliction is Jesus, He is the remedy to our reluctance. We think that what we need are answers but what we really need is the Author. Thomas wanted proof but what he really needed was God’s presence. Because answers without the Author are meaningless. Christ is the only cure. I think today we have become sidetracked seeking answers instead of seeking the Almighty. What I need is Jesus and if we are not careful we will miss the real Miracle, Jesus in their midst. Today many of us are demanding that the Messiah do a miracle in our lives so that we can believe and be blessed but what we fail to realize is that we have missed the greatest miracle of all, the miracle that not only brings us the greatest blessing but also bolsters our belief, the Miracle of Christ conquering the cross, when our Redeemer rose from the dead. Church we serve a risen Savior our God is not dead. This is the essence of our Christian faith: …….”Jesus is in the midst.”
• Where was Jesus when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, in their midst.
• At Calvary, as Jesus hung on the cross He was in the midst of sinners
• Where is Jesus when two or three are gathered together in His name, there am I in the midst of them.
• As the Lamb in Revelation Jesus is in the midst of the throne, leading us to living fountains of waters: and wiping away all the tears from our eyes.
• Here in the middle of our doubt where is Jesus, in the midst
Why is this theme, “in the midst” repeated so often in the Scripture, because it is the key to the Christian life. As followers of the Christ we are called to let Jesus be Lord, to be in the midst of every aspect of our lives. The word translated “midst” from the Greek comes from the root word meaning “middle”. Is the Master in the middle of all that you do, is Christ the center of your life? We all have different “compartments” that make up our lives, work, school, hobbies, family, church and many of us make the mistake of making Christ just another compartment. We make Him another spoke in the wheel of life instead of the hub connecting the spokes. You see it’s only when Jesus is in the midst of our life that we experience His peace. Not only is there a manifestation but there is also an:
b. Invitation – Vs 27
Jesus is more than capable of dealing with our doubts, He addressed Thomas personally. Jesus not only knows you He knows all about you, He knows your doubts and your fears. You don’t have to fake it because your doubts don’t derail God. It’s ok to have questions. Jesus is not bound by your doubt or limited by your locks. The truth is God appears far less threatened by doubt than does His church. Many of us are afraid to admit our doubts, many Christians today are living in a sea of doubt. And when you’re swimming in doubt, it’s hard not to get wet, to have that doubt seep deep into your life. Have you ever doubted? Have you ever wondered about this whole business of Jesus and the cross and the resurrection? Often, we’re afraid to face our doubts because we’re afraid of what we might find. We’re afraid of what others might think. People might find out how weak our faith really is, so we keep our doubts to ourselves, but our doubts don’t go away. They are always there, and like a cancer, our doubt slowly eat away at our faith, until we believe in Jesus less and less, and we become more and more skeptical. Some of you are drowning in doubt because rather than dealing with it you are faking it. When Thomas got honest with his doubts Jesus showed up offering him a personal inspection of the marks of his passion. Jesus didn’t discipline Thomas for His doubt instead He invited Thomas to inspect the proof, the marks of His love. Have you responded to the Redeemers invitation to come to the cross and inspect His love for you? Are you letting Jesus be in the midst, doing life with the Lord so that He is in the middle of everything you do?

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