“…Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said “Peace be with you.” Then (Jesus) said to Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it is my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered (Jesus) “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him: “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Now Jesus did many other signs…which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name. John 20:26b-30
It appears that Jesus is addressing Faith: specifically Thomas (who took a principled stand against the testimony of the rest of the disciples) and generally all the rest of the generations following about whether or not Jesus is who He says He is-the physical Son of God at the right Hand of the Father.
Every so often I get distracted by stinking thinking concerning the physical reality of Jesus. I mean, look: I am so used to communicating with Him the Holy Spirit (unseen but present) that I forget that Jesus is physically in Heaven sitting next to the Father. That forgetting of His physical presence also lends itself to forgetting that He is making supplication on my behalf all my days before God. (Jesus is doing a lot of things but according to the Scriptures kicking back and taking in a ball game isn’t one of them-or maybe He is: He is God after all…).
What got me thinking this morning is the distinction about Faith and Signs.
I have been listening (and singing with) a new album lately. There is a song with this particular lyric: “Hope that is seen is no hope at all, our hope is in what is to come…” Is this the same as Faith? I am wondering if it is. Heb 11: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.” So now what? Are you as puzzled as I am? Probably not: I scratch my head often when in the Word.
Here we have Jesus telling Thomas: “Ok, see me, put your fingers in the nail holes; your hand in My side. Satisfied now? Oh, and by the way, I don’t do this for just anybody-there will be a group of folks called “Blessed” who will not need this particular step in their walk with Me.” But-in the very next sentence John writes “Jesus did other signs, a lot of them. Some are written in this book-many are not. But what was done and written about is to help you believe…”
I think there are two distinctions to ponder: 1) Faith isn’t blind belief. Our faith (or maybe conviction is the better word here) is in Him and what He said about Himself and what He will do. Another way to say it is “I have Faith/Conviction in His Word (who happens to be the Living Word).” My faith isn’t blind or unseeing-it is in Faith of His Word. 2) Signs are not for the unfaithful alone. Signs are a treasure of the Mercy and Grace of God to remind us not to falter in unbelief. Face it: there are times we all are shaky in the knees concerning belief. Signs are part of the Holy Spirit’s tool kit (along with more prosaic tools like Thankfulness in all things, Encouragement and Hospitality) to keep us biblically healthy.
Faith/Conviction in His Word. Thankfulness towards Signs: I don’t meditate/think about these enough.
Lord God: Help me see each day in the Splendor of You and Your Works in Creation. Your mercy is new every single day. I don’t deserve Your mercy and You give it to me anyway. I want to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Therefore please help me (make me) walk in accordance with Your Word, line upon line, precept upon precept until, like Chucky Spurgeon, I bleed the Bible. AMEN.