In our reading today as we "Walk in the Word" we come to John 20. At this point of the story Christ has been crucified, buried and raised. The disciples have gathered behind locked doors and receive a surprise visit from Jesus. They are “overjoyed” (20:20) to see Jesus.
And why wouldn’t they be. They had just experienced the worst weekend in the history of the world. Their Lord and Master Jesus had been crucified on Friday. They had to have their first Sabbath without Jesus since becoming Jesus’ disciples. The first time you do anything after a person has died is the hardest time. Then Sunday comes and they find an empty tomb and they hear strange stories from Mary and Jesus’ mom.
They were experiencing a crisis of faith. Gathering that night there had to have been a lot of questions and discussions about what they were supposed to do. They must have talked about what they remembered Jesus teaching them for the last three years followed by moments of awed silence.
In the midst of the meeting they must have sent Thomas out for pizza or something and while he was making the run to the corner, Jesus showed up. Everyone was thrilled. They believed. They understood. He is alive!
Then poor Thomas gets home and thinks his friends have lost their minds. Everyone must have been talking about seeing Jesus, but Thomas was a practical man. He needed to see Jesus for himself. All week long they were talking and believing while he was listening and doubting.
I love Thomas. I’m afraid I would have been the same way.
I’m also thankful for Thomas. His desire and need to see Jesus along with Jesus’ willingness a week later to come back to reveal Himself to Thomas so Thomas could touch Him and talk to Him and believe in Him strengthens my faith. We learn a lot from Thomas’ encounter with the risen Christ. We learn a lot about the resurrected body of Jesus that we will one day have among many other wonderful things.
Thomas’ doubt was turned into faith and his doubt strengthens my faith today.
It all started with a crisis of faith caused by doubt.
At Living Hope we are at a point in our church life where we must have great faith. We are about to relocate to a new location and there are many things that could make us doubt. This is a defining moment. We are facing a crisis of faith caused by doubts about our ability to do what we believe God wants us to do. I know God is going to turn this doubt into great faith, but for that to happen we must walk through this challenging stage of sacrifice and grow from it together. God is going with us and we are going to see miracles.
Henry Blackaby writes in his workbook Experiencing God: “When God invites you to join Him in His work, He has a God-sized assignment for you. You will realize that you cannot do it on your own. If God doesn’t help you, you will fail. This is the crisis point where many decide not to follow what they sense God is leading them to do. The crisis of belief is a turning point where you must make a decision. You must decide what you believe about God. How you respond at this turning point will determine whether you go on to be involved with God in something God-sized that only He can do, or whether you will continue to go your own way.”
At Living Hope we have a real opportunity to see God work. We cannot relocate this church. This is a God-sized project that He will have to accomplish. He will do it with us and through us. But He will make it happen not us.
Be in prayer for Living Hope and be in attendance at our “Family Meeting” on Wednesday, April 18th as we begin a conversation about the future of the church and what it is God has called us to do.
Let’s walk through this challenge together and see any doubt that exists among us turned into faith.