Acts 2:14, 36-41
1 Peter 1:3-9
Belief. What a funny concept. It seems as though it continuously becomes more and more difficult to take someone at their word in this day and age. We are fed so many lies and so much deceit that figuring out which way is up can easily discombobulate you. Why is belief so difficult? Why do we always need proof in addition to a claim in order to validate it? It is the idea of needing proof in order for belief that prompts Jesus to say, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” I am afraid to admit that it is far easier to be like Thomas, needing proof as foundation for belief. The fact is, tangible things make more sense to us. If we have something right in front of us, if we can touch it and feel its existence, only then will we truly believe in it.
Yet, 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” There are many other verses in the Bible that point us towards belief. There are also many examples in Scripture where great men and woman of faith doubted God and prayed, asking Him for proof in order to believe.
What I find interesting about the passage in John 20 is that when Jesus appeared to the group of disciples the first time around, he gave them visual, tangible proof right away even without them beginning to question their faith. It is only after Thomas, who was not with them on the first occasion, did not believe the word of other disciples and requested to place his hands on the nail wounds of Jesus that Jesus turned his appearance into a lesson about belief.
Sometimes we do not realize how small and undeveloped our faith can be. Our goal should be to base our belief on word alone. This is the standard that Jesus places on faith in its purest form. It should be something that you can have without need of proof. Therefore, at times, the Bible refers to belief as child-like faith. Do you remember when you were young and you would play make-believe, imagining all kinds of amazing new worlds? You had friends left and right that no one but you could see. Although you couldn’t technically see your imaginary friends either, you still talked to them. You still believed in them with a fierce faith. It is only as we grow older that we lose sight of this pure form of belief.
It is a good thing for us that the Bible is filled with numerous signs and wonders. Signs can be great things. They have given testament to many different things throughout Bible times, as well as today. We know the kind of faith we are commanded to have. The only thing standing in the way of having belief in its purest form is the idea of common sense that we keep in our heads. We need to remember that seeing isn’t always believing and believing isn’t always seeing. Don’t be afraid to have child-like faith. It is for the times when our faith feels weak that the signs and wonders were written. “ut 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 20:31) What an amazing Savior we have to believe in! Praise be to God!
You are dealing with a very significant challenge in the life of the follower of Jesus: faith versus sight. In spite of all our talk about how we love our faith, we would rather have sight. Faith is hard! Yet, we are called to faith. I love your reference to Thomas because I often think I am so very close to him. Faith is a gift of God, not something we develop. So we pray for faith. God knows our weakness and gives us signs, as you mention. Thank you, Bekah, for a beautiful piece.