Our Great Resurrection Hope (part 4)

He is risen! On this beautiful Resurrection Sunday morning, there is eternal hope for every believer in Christ Jesus. Although they are fun, the easter egg hunts, baskets, pretty Spring dresses, and bunnies cannot compare to the joy that rises in the heart of those who have placed their trust in Christ. In this final post of our great resurrection hope, we will look at the crushing of the enemy and the final victory that we are assured. Our hope is not a wishful thinking but an assured confidence.

In Part 1, we learned that Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Christian’s Resurrection, and in Part 2, we saw that Christ’s Resurrection Reverses the Curse of Humanity, and in Part 3, we saw that Christ’s Resurrection Gives Hope for the Future. Let us look at Paul’s words in 1Corinthians 15:24-26 as we consider the fourth reason this day is one of such great hope.

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

(1 Corinthians 15:24–26, ESV)

Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Defeat of Every Enemy of Christ (vv. 24-26)

When Jesus Christ died upon the cross, he set into motion the assured and final victory over every enemy of God. This includes Satan and the demons and every human being that have rebelled against God. (v. 24)

Jesus Christ will destroy every rule, and every authority and power that will not submit to him. Not a single enemy of God will remain. His reign will last until every enemy is conquered and put under his feet (v. 25)

The final enemy shall be death (v. 26). Until the resurrection of Jesus Christ, death was the undefeated champion of every fight fought. Nobody faces death and walks away. Some might escape for a few more days or even years, but death always wins. But in Jesus Christ, death has met its match. Jesus Christ is stronger than death.

The great enemy of mankind that began in the Garden will finally be stopped. All the dead who have trusted in Christ will have been raised from the dead and transformed into glorified bodies, just like Jesus has been. There will be no more death at all.

The death of death will have come because of the death of Christ. All things will be made right.

This is the hope we have in Christ. This is what the resurrection means to Christians. It directly affects each of of us.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “Death in its substance has been removed, and only the shadow of it remains.… Nobody is afraid of a shadow, for a shadow cannot block a man’s pathway for even a moment. The shadow of a dog can’t bite; the shadow of a sword can’t kill.” Christ Himself took the full force of death’s destroying power by dying and paying for our sin, then rising from the grave. Trusting Jesus may not remove death’s shadow, but remember, shadows can’t hurt us.”[1]

The resurrection reminds us of this truth. We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We have nothing to fear, even death itself. We shall be raised from the dead, because Christ lives!

And all the enemies of God shall be dealt with as well.

That leads me to ask a question of you this morning. Do you have this hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? That would depend upon whether you have placed your faith and trust in him.

Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the resurrection of his followers. But it does something else. It points to the fact that he always keeps his promises. Jesus promised that he would rise from the dead. And he promised that he would come back. Not just to raise his disciples from the dead, but also to judge the unrighteous.

So, this Easter, what have you placed your hope in? Is it in the salvation in Jesus Christ or is it in yourself? Only salvation in Christ offers the great hope that we have this morning. Everything else is like a hollow chocolate bunny.

[1] https://bible.org/illustration/nobody-afraid-shadow

Our Great Resurrection Hope (part 2)

On this Good Friday, we have a wonderful opportunity to meditate not only upon the death of Christ, but upon the hope of his resurrection. Yesterday I posted the first of Four Assurances that Jesus’ Resurrection Gives Those Who are Followers of Jesus Christ: Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Christian’s Resurrection. You can read that post here: https://always-reforming.com/?p=1859

Christ’s Resurrection Reverses the Curse of Humanity (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21–22, ESV)

In these next two verses, Paul reviews for the church what they already knew, but needed to connect to the resurrection of Jesus. Paul addressed the reality that all people die, and that is why there is a need for resurrection.

Paul lays down two parallel ideas—first, that death came to all of humanity through a single man, Adam, in the Garden of Eden, when he disobeyed God.

Then, secondly, resurrection of the dead has come to humanity through another single person, Jesus Christ, who on the cross obeyed God by dying in the sinner’s place.

Verse 21 gives a profound truth that the world we live in simply cannot grasp as it should. We find that people in general think that they are good people, maybe a little flawed, but good at heart. Nothing serious. Of course, there are a few bad apples that mess things up for the world. But most people are good.

But in the Garden, there was one law given by God. Don’t eat the fruit. That was it. One law. And Adam and Eve broke it. One law. And what was the penalty? Death. A broken relationship with God and death.

Now look at verse 22. It gives more detail regarding verse 21. It uses names here. “As in Adam all die.” Paul is assuming we all know this. Why did my grandparents die, even though they were super sweet people? Because Adam sinned, and all his children sin and the penalty of sin is death.

So, what does that say about my sweet grandparents? They were sinners. And no matter how good you think you are, you will show that you are a sinner in God’s eyes because all sinners die. Death isn’t natural. God didn’t make men to die. He made them to be immortal. Sin brought death. All sinners die.

We all associate with the first man, Adam, who represents us as the human race. He is our head, or leader.

But the second part is true as well. Verse 22 says, “so also in Christ shall all be made alive!”

Here, Christ is described as being a representative just like Adam is. Adam represents the human race. Jesus represents his followers, those who forsake everything and follow Christ. Those who place their every hope and trust in him. Those who are truly children of God and have attached themselves to Christ. Is that you? If it is, then this speaks to you!

Paul is speaking here of the reversal of the curse of sin and death that was brought upon the human race by Adam’s disobedience.

In Romans 5:12 Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, ESV) 

And in 1Corinthians 1:18, Paul wrote, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Those who don’t trust in Jesus Christ for salvation see the death of Christ as foolish, and we as Christians are foolish too. But these are the ones that are perishing in their sins. 

Have you ever gotten yourself in a jam that you simply couldn’t fix? That’s what the human race did when Adam disobeyed God and sinned. It reminds me of when we have gone fishing when my girls were much younger. Sometimes they would get their fishing line all tangled up and the reel looked like a bird’s nest of fishing line. Sometimes they tried to fix it, but soon realized it was too tangled, so they’d give it to me or my wife. Sometimes it was so bad all we could do was cut the line and start over.

Some people approach their tangled up sin-filled lives like that. They pridefully say its not that bad, and they try too “fix” it themselves. Sometimes they take it to others who claim to be experts for help. But these “experts” have a mess in their own sin. Some take their sin-filled lives to Jesus Christ. He alone can fix it. 

On the outside it looks like we are all the same. We are all heading toward death—both Christian and unbeliever. But there is a difference. The Christians identifies himself with Christ, and in doing so he joins Christ in the resurrection that will come one day.

But the unbeliever is still identified with Adam. In Adam all die. We are all in Adam and so we all feel the effects of the curse of death. But in Christ those who identify with Christ in faith shall be made alive because Christ’s Resurrection Reverses the Curse of Humanity.

Our Great Resurrection Hope (part 1)

Today is “April Fool’s Day” which I think might be just an American sort of thing. I don’t know. It’s not even actually a holiday here, but is an unofficial day for playing pranks on one another. Some Christians have connected “April Fool’s Day” with atheism, a reflection of Psalm 14:1; and 53:1 that says, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” It is interesting that April Fool’s Day comes a day before Good Friday, the day which Christ was crucified. For millions of Christians, the crucifixion and empty tomb are reminders of our great hope beyond this life and this world But what about the atheist and the one who does not believe in Jesus Christ? Where is the world supposed to find hope?

A little over a month before he died, the famous atheist Jean-Paul Sartre declared that he so strongly resisted feelings of despair that he would say to himself, “I know I shall die in hope.” Then in profound sadness, he would add, “But hope needs a foundation.”[1]

Where do you find your hope? The Apostle Paul has written to the church where some have lost hope because they had been wrongly taught that there is no resurrection; that a person dies and is no more. Some people believe that today.

Look with me to 1 Corinthians 15:19. It says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19, ESV) 

As followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that Jesus Christ is our great resurrection hope. If Jesus has not risen from the dead, we might as well all just wait to die. There is nothing left but despair and our feeble attempts to make our time left on this earth as pleasant as possible.

But Christ has risen. There is more to hope for than all this world can offer! On this Maundy Thursday leading to Resurrection Sunday, I’d like to share Four Assurances that Jesus’ Resurrection Gives Those Who are Followers of Jesus Christ. Here is the first one:

Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Christian’s Resurrection (v. 20)

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

(1 Corinthians 15:20, ESV)

The evidence is overwhelming which shows that Christ rose from the dead (1 Cor 15:3-8). In these verses we read that Jesus was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses, and some of them were still alive when the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian Church, about 20 years after Jesus’ crucifixion.

Along with this, Christ’s death and resurrection fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophecies and Jesus himself told his disciples several times that he would rise from the dead after his death upon a cross.

And in verse 20, Paul is telling the church that Christ has not only risen from the dead, but that he is the first-fruits of those who have “fallen asleep,” a euphemism for Christian’s who have died already.

What is a “first-fruit” and why does this guarantee the Christian hope?

In the Old Testament laws, the Jewish people were commanded by God that at the end of their farming seasons, as they were getting ready to reap their harvests, the people of God were commanded to bring an offering to God called the “first-fruit.”

This offering was from every type of blessing they had received, and it included grain, produce, oil, wine, bread and dough, even the first born of animals.  Now, what I want you to understand is that these “first-fruit” offerings were just that—they were the first of the fruit of the land, given as an offering of thanksgiving to the One who had given them everything. It was also an offering given in faith that he would bring in the rest of the harvest that had not been completely ripened or been brought into the harvest. This offering was the way in which the Lord told his people that they were promised that there was more of the same to come.

The Apostle Paul used this imagery to describe Jesus’ resurrection as the first-fruit, the promise that there is more to come! Jesus, the Son of Man, died and rose again, the first of many who will one day rise again just as he did.

In Romans 11:16 Paul used this idea of first-fruits as well. He wrote, “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” (Romans 11:16, ESV) 

Paul is saying that when a Jewish person offered up a lump of dough, the larger batch that it was taken from was made holy because of the connection between the two. Think about that for a second!

What Paul is saying in 1Corinthians 15:20 is that our status as Christians is changed by what happens to the first-fruit of Christ’s resurrection. Whatever he undergoes, we will also undergo. 

As one commentary says, “…in the specific case of the resurrection their resurrection is not merely parallel or similar to Christ’s but is preauthorized, promised, guaranteed, and initiated by it.[2]

I once was at a bridal shower, and it reminded me of the engagement ring that our friend gave to his fiancé. I don’t know how much that young man spent on the ring, but it represents a promise of good things to come. 

The engagement ring is a promise not only that the groom will come for his bride, but that as he has spent much in providing the ring, he has much more to give. The ring represents love, and promise, and that more is to follow. It is not all, it is only a foretaste.

The first-fruits are like that. But it is a promise from God, who never breaks his promises, ever.

Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Christian’s Resurrection! We aren’t just hoping against hope. Christ’s resurrection is the first stage of a resurrection that will include the raising up and glorifying of all of Christ’s followers!

[1] https://bible.org/illustration/famous-athiest

[2] Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 762.

What If Jesus Didn’t Rise From the Dead?

It was June 18, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo. The French under the command of Napoleon were fighting the allied forces of the British, Dutch, and Germans under the command of the Duke of Wellington. The people of England depended on a system of signals to find out how the battle was going. One of these signals was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.

Late in the day it flashed the signal: “W – E – L – L – I – N – G – T – O – N – – – D – E – F – E – A – T – E – D – – -.” Just at that moment a fog cloud made it impossible to read the message. The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The whole countryside was sad and gloomy when they heard the news that their country had lost the war. Suddenly, the fog lifted, and the remainder of the message could be read. The message had four words, not two. The complete message was: “W – E – L – L – I – N – G – T – O – N – – – D – E – F – E – A – T – E – D – – – T – H – E – – – E – N – E – M – Y!” It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow was turned into joy, defeat was turned into victory!

So it was when Jesus was laid in the tomb. Hope had died in the hearts of Jesus’ most loyal friends. After the frightful crucifixion, the fog of disappointment and misunderstanding had crept in on the friends of Jesus. They had read only part of the message. “Christ defeated” was all they knew. But then on the third day the fog of disappointment and misunderstanding lifted, and the world received the complete message: “Christ defeated sin and death!” Defeat was turned into victory; death was turned into life!

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

(1 Corinthians 15:12–19, NASB95)

I want us to consider one question today: what if Christ didn’t rise again?

Jesus would be a liar.

Christ predicted His resurrection on several occasions. At first He used only vague terms, such as “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19). But later on in His ministry He spoke quite plainly. Matthew writes, “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matt. 16:21).

Jesus says in Matthew 12:40, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” And later in 20:18-19 He predicts, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Mark records Jesus saying, “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Mark 14:28).

In John 10:17-18 we find Jesus saying these words: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” To the women who came to Christ’s tomb on Easter morning and wondered where His body was, the angel said, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” (Matt. 28:6).

If the resurrection did not happen, we would have to say the Jesus was a liar. And if He lied about the resurrection, could we trust His other sayings?

If Christ Didn’t Rise Again, Then There is No Good News. (1Cor. 15:14)

Paul tells us what the gospel is in 1Corinthians 15:3, 4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

The word “gospel” means “good news.” But if the resurrection is taken from the gospel, we are left with sad news, not good news. We are left with Jesus’ death and burial. That is not “Good News.” 

We’d have a Savior who died for our sins on the cross, and was buried, but he is still in the grave. That is only half of the Gospel, and half a gospel is no gospel at all.

If Jesus Didn’t Rise Again, Then Our Faith is Groundless (1Cor. 15:14b, 17) 

Faith in a dead Savior is both preposterous and pathetic. If you were being chased by a madman, and you had the choice of running either to a house full of people or a cemetery for help, where would you run? I think we would all run to the house full of people. Why? Because the house if filled with living people who could help, while the cemetery is filled with dead bodies which can do nothing.

If Jesus Christ did not rise and is still dead then He has no power to save us. He had no power to save himself! Our faith would be in vain, and worse, we would still be in our sins and still on our way to hell.

We are spreading a lie (1Cor 15:15)

While claiming to do God’s work, we would actually be spreading a lie!

If Jesus is still dead and was buried in a tomb never to be raised alive, then we are the worst charlatans because we are giving hope to the hopeless, but it is all a sham. This would be like the old snake-oil salesmen of the west who would sell a cheap elixer that would give a sick man hope that he would be cured, all the while he is dying.

Could this please God if it is not true? We would be, as Paul says, “misrepresenting God.” We would be guilty of spiritual malpractice of the worst kind. 

We have no hope for the future (1Cor. 15:18). 

Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of the future resurrection of His people; so if Christ is not risen then this guarantee is worthless. Paul wrote to some bereaved Christians at Thessalonica who had lost relatives and friends (1 Thess. 4:13-14). And then at the close of this message of consolation he writes, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (v. 18). If Christ is not risen, there is no comfort.

We suffer for nothing (1Cor 15:19).

Here is how Alan Redpath paraphrases this passage: “If Christ is not risen, then our faith is empty, our preaching useless, and he has failed to deal with sin at all. If he has not been raised from the tomb, we are still in our sins and all his promises are absolutely untrue. He is a fraud, an imposter, and his ashes are buried somewhere in Palestine today. There is no hope beyond the grave for anybody, and those who have died professing faith in him are just left there forever.”

When Paul says if Christ is not risen then we are “of all people most to be pitied,” he means that of all the people in the world, Christians are the ones who deserve the most pity.

If Christ is not risen, why bother to go to church? You would be better off somewhere else.

If Christ is not risen, why bother to put money in the offering plate? You’re only giving to a lost cause.

If Christ is not risen, why bother to serve Him? You’re only wasting your time.

If Christ is not risen, why tell others about Him? You might as well save your breath.

Thomas Jefferson, a great man, nevertheless could not accept the miraculous elements in Scripture. He edited his own special version of the Bible in which all references to the supernatural were deleted. Jefferson, in editing the Gospels, confined himself solely to the moral teachings of Jesus. The closing words of Jefferson’s Bible are these: “There laid they Jesus and rolled a great stone at the mouth of the sepulchre and departed.” Thank God that is not the way the story really ends!

Christ was telling the truth when He predicted He would rise from the dead. He is the Son of God. The gospel really is good news. It really is “the power of God to salvation to every one that believes.” Our faith is grounded in a living Savior who can save every person from sin, death, and hell. When we share the good news of Jesus Christ, we are spreading the truth, not a lie. We also have the sure expectation of a bodily resurrection. Our bodies will not stay in the grave; we will rise again as Christ did. And we are not of “of all men most to be pitied.” We have every reason to be the happiest people on earth.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychiatry, wrote: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be!” But Christians have victory in death and over death because of the victory of Jesus Christ in His own resurrection. Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19).

Every year thousands of people climb a mountain in the Italian Alps, passing the “stations of the cross” to stand at an outdoor crucifix. One tourist noticed a little trail that led beyond the cross. He fought through the rough thicket and, to his surprise, came upon another shrine, a shrine that symbolized the empty tomb. It was neglected. The brush had grown up around it. Almost everyone had gone as far as the cross, but there they stopped. Far too many have gotten to the cross and have known the despair and the heartbreak. Far too few have moved beyond the cross to find the real message of the resurrection. That is the message of the empty tomb. You can be saved today because Christ died and rose again. This is not simply the message of Easter, this is the message of Christianity.

Our Immediate Blessings From the Resurrection (John 20:19-29)


Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, all of God’s children will be raised again, in the twinkling of an eye, and we will be transformed from dead corpses to living, breathing, glorified, never-to-die again living people. What a glorious day that will be. But did you know that there are blessings that were given to us and that we can enjoy here and now because of Jesus’ resurrection?

1. The Resurrection Dispels Fear, and Replaces It with Peace (vv. 19-21a)

Verse 19 tells us that it is the evening of the resurrection. Most of us are going to celebrate the resurrection today. But the first Easter Sunday was not filled with Christians celebrating—they were hiding. They had locked the doors behind them, fearful and unsure about what to do. The reports the women brought back were confusing, to say the least and they had no idea if the religious leaders were cooking up another plot to purge Jerusalem of the followers of Jesus. So it is not surprising to find them huddled together for safety, locked in a room. But doors and locks can’t stop Jesus. We are not alone, he is still with us.

In John 14:19, Jesus had told them, “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

For a little while (3 days) they did not see Jesus. But now they saw him. He appeared right before their eyes so that there was no doubt that he was alive. And what were his first words to the gathered saints? “Peace be with you.” Jesus knew the turmoil that raged inside their hearts. And just as he could calm the wind and the waves with is words, his presence among them also brought peace. As Paul reminds us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). Jesus is alive. He still dispels fear and offers peace to us. His resurrection conquers the fear of death and the wrath to come. It promises all who will repent of their sins and turn to Christ in faith that he will give to them peace with God. God will give forgiveness of sins and shower his love upon those who trust in him alone.

2. The Resurrection Disperses the Faithful (vv. 21b-22)

You know, I’ve seen death separate many families, including my own. In many families, a mother or grandmother is like the glue that keeps everyone together, especially during the holidays. But when she dies, often the family begins to drip apart from one another. It’s a sad reality. Death disperses a family.
But here is a curious result not of death, but of Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection caused his disciples to disperse. Christ’s death and resurrection brought satisfaction for God’s wrath against our sin. His saving work was done. But the work of the disciples had only begun. Jesus had done his work on the cross, but the disciples would need to go into the world and share the message of the gospel with sinful men. And from the point of view of these terrified disciples, that must have seemed like an impossible task. But Jesus had given them his peace and promised the Holy Spirit. His words pointed forward 40 days to the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit would bring power and boldness for the Great Commission.

With confidence in the risen Lord, the Church now moves from a safe place to boldly declare the truth of Jesus Christ. God the Father sent Jesus on a mission—he had an aim and a purpose—and so do all his disciples.
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We have a mission and the power to carry this mission out-the Holy Spirit. Jesus is alive and we ought to tell someone!

3. The Resurrection Dispenses Forgiveness (v. 23)

This verse can be misunderstood to teach that Jesus is giving to Christians the right to forgive sins. But only God has the power and prerogative to do that. So what is he talking about? Jesus is telling his disciples that when we disperse into the world with the gospel message, it is that message that points people to Jesus—the only one who can forgive and wash away the stains of sin and guilt. If the gospel message is received with faith in Christ alone, God will assuredly forgive the sins of those who receive the message as delivered by Jesus’ faithful disciples.

But the opposite is true as well. If acceptance of the gospel delivered by Christians is acceptance and forgiveness by God, then we need to realize that when the messengers and their message are rejected, that God and his Son’s sacrifice are also being rejected. Forgiveness of sins and peace with God are also rejected.

Do you remember those things called typewriters? For you kids out there, those were keyboards and printers all wrapped into one. If you remember typewriters, then you remember that there was no “back” button and you probably remember “White Out.” It was that magical bottle of white liquid that could be brushed over a typing error. Then you could go back and type little there was no error.

Forgiveness is like whiteout. This world doesn’t offer “do-overs,” but God does. Jesus’ blood is like “white-out” for your soul. It covers over all your sins and makes it like you never sinned…ever! Jesus’ death on the cross bought that forgiveness!

4. The Resurrection Deepens Flimsy Faith (vv. 24-28)

Thomas is probably most famous for this embarrassing incident. He had missed the earlier appearance of Jesus to the other disciples and having heard their story he had his doubts. And before we jump on poor Thomas, think about what we are talking about here.

My friend lost his grandfather a couple of weeks ago. I went to his funeral. But what if someone told me that good old Bill had just been by the house and I just missed him? “Come on,” I’d say. “Dead people stay dead. He’s up in Rose Hills. Nobody leaves the cemetery. Nobody.” They don’t lock the gates of Green Hills Memorial Park to keep people in, do they? So, when Thomas has his doubts, I can totally understand. And it wasn’t just a lack of faith. Nobody expected Jesus to rise again. So, his doubt is understandable.

But as we read, Jesus did rise again and he showed up again among the disciples, but this time when Thomas was there. And again he had to calm them and give them his peace. After all, Jesus once again appeared back from the dead and in a locked room.

How many of us have had thoughts of doubt and a lack of faith? We’ve doubted the goodness and kindness of God. We’ve doubted his ability or willingness to forgive our sins. We’ve doubted his love for us. We’ve doubted his power to heal or his power to answer our prayers. So, are we really in a position to point fingers at Thomas?

But to his credit, Thomas’ lack of faith melted away. Look again at verse 28. Although we don’t know any more about Thomas, Church tradition says that Thomas continued to preach the gospel and went as far away as Kerala, India where he brought the gospel to a group that today are called Nasrani or Saint Thomas Christians. Thomas’ flimsy faith was made solid by the resurrection of Christ. Although we cannot see Christ in the flesh as the disciples did, we shall one day see him clearly: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1Cor. 13:12 ).

By focusing on the reality of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith is bolstered and we are placed back on track.