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“But he said to them: ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe'” John 20:25

“Then He said to Thomas: ‘Put your finger here; see may hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'” John 20:27

“Then Jesus told him: ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” John 20:29

SHOW ME THE DATA!! FOLLOW THE SCIENCE!! GIVE ME THE PROOF, THEN I WILL BELIEVE YOU!!!! These kinds of statements and many more like them are being bandied about, shouted at one another, used as a pretext for non-actions and the justification for other actions.

In a way it is not surprising in this instant Wiki-info world, where “facts” and data are just a few key strokes away, that the general public is less inclined to take declaratory statements at their face value. The fact that you’re reading this on some device means that you’ve also probably used that device to search for some recipe, some process like how to get your device working again or better, some aspect about that reoccurring pain in your body or some historical event you and someone are having a disagreement about. Why should I completely trust you if I can so easily look up the information myself. As a part of an “older” generation; it is not uncommon for us to look down on or speak disapprovingly of “younger” generations. However, I’m not so sure that our “higher” level of trust and respect of and for experts had as much to do with some virtue as it did the difficulty and time involved in researching all but the most obvious topics (i.e. needing a dictionary, encyclopedia or even library).

However, needing proof to accept and believe in something is not a new phenomena. Let’s take the disciple Thomas for example. Now understand that Thomas was not someone who had come to experience Jesus, briefly before Jesus’s death and resurrection. Thomas had been with Jesus throughout His ministry. Thomas had seen Jesus heal the sick, feed thousands, quiet the storm and even raise Lazarus from the grave. Thomas was the disciple who said to the rest of the disciples that they should accompany Jesus and die with Him when Jesus declared He was going to back to Judea (John 11:16)

Thomas had been through incredible times with Jesus and his brethren disciples. Thomas had been told by Mary, that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave and was alive, the third day after His crucifiction (although to be fair to Thomas, the other disciples didn’t believe Mary, at that time either). Now Thomas was confronted with testimony from 10 of his closest companions, that Jesus had risen from the dead; is not just some spirit but an actual, living in the flesh, being. And yet, Thomas did not believe them. Thomas needed proof. Testimony, no matter how credible; wasn’t going to cut it. For Thomas, seeing, touching was the only proof that would bring about his belief.

Now please Sisters and Brothers understand, this is not some sort of bad-Thomas, judgement story. As stated above, none of the disciples believed Mary, even after John and Peter found the tomb empty; until Jesus appeared in their midst (sans Thomas). Would Nathanial or James believed if either or both of them had also been missing? AND, I’m not so sure I’d been jumping up and down hallelujahing versus being mighty skeptical had I missed the glorious meeting.

Now let’s cut to the chase. It’s several thousand years later; dear Sisters and Brothers, is Jesus Christ alive today? Am I living, behaving, praising, praying and most importantly loving, as if Jesus Christ is as present here at this time as He was in Galilei? Jesus Christ declared that He would rise and indeed did rise from the grave. Through scripture we are told that Jesus Christ now resides at the Right Hand or Our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit is sent to us to testify to the current, vital life of Jesus Christ and the blessings that come from it. Do we believe? If we question, what proof do we need? What do I need to see, hear or touch?

I can hear you: “Come On! We’ve got wars every where we turn, pandemics, hatred, famines! From what I see, hear and experience, how can I be certain that if alive, that Jesus Christ’s being alive really maters?” Jesus Christ warned us; there would be manmade disasters (wars and such) and natural disasters. Yet Jesus also told us that; because of Him and His being alive, we can have peace in Him. Jesus declared as He has overcome the world, that should we believe and abide in Him, He will never forsake us and allow us to great things, even greater than He did.

I also hear you when you say and ask: ” I believe Jesus Christ lives. But, what am I supposed to say, supposed to do, to answer to others who don’t believe and require proof of God and Jesus? How do I prove it to them?” Jesus had/has an answer there too. He told us not to be afraid or worry about what we are to say when asked to defend our faith. Jesus told us the Holy Spirit will supply us with what to say. Additionally, Jesus made it clear; we’re not to be in the business of proving His existence. We are to live lives of love, proclaiming the risen Lord and that is enough.

Finally, something to consider. Jesus Christ did come to Thomas. When Jesus came to Thomas, He didn’t curse Thomas or cast him away for his unbelief. Hardly, instead Jesus, in mercy, allowed the proof that Thomas needed. And Thomas did end up believing and serving.

Jesus Christ is alive. Let it be that you and I Dear Sisters and Brothers find ourselves among those who Jesus declared blessed; that we do truly believe in the earthly life, death, resurrection and continued life of Jesus Christ, even though we have yet to see Him. And in that blessing, live lives that bring praise and glory to the Name of Our Heavenly Father.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we understand that we live in a world where now most everything is open to debate and requests for proof to believe are everywhere, even proof of Your existence and that of Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive us Merciful Father when we too find ourselves questioning our faith and Your relevance/power in this world. Through Your Holy Spirit, Dear Father, fill us, strengthen us, calm us; allow us to abide in Your Living Son, that there we might find that certain confident faith. Through Jesus Christ, let us be beacons of Your light, hope and love that will show others the path that leads to belief and life in You. We thank You, Creator God for Your patient mercy with us, Your creation, that You would fill us with Your steadfast love which is all the proof that will ever be needed. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Then some of the scribes and the Pharisees answered saying:  “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.  Matthew 12:38

Likewise the chief priests also………..Let the Christ, King of the Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.  Mark 15: 31-32

First let me start out by saying this is not a debate concerning religion versus science or faith versus the scientific method.  I don’t personally see science as satanic any more than I see religion as always virtuous.  Where man is involved the answer is always going to be; it depends.

But we sure spend an incredible amount of energy  in justifying our beliefs through proof.  Think about the debate going on concerning how old the planet is.  Or the significant amount of effort being put forth to find Noah’s Ark.  If we are not careful we will elevate ourselves (at least in our own minds) to the highest judges in the universe.  We will only surely believe that which we can prove and/or at least seems logical to our thinking.

So man confronts God.  That is what was happening in Jesus’ time.  Give us a sign; show us by what authority, come down off the cross and then we will believe.  First, I truly wonder, had Jesus come down from the cross ( a crushing defeat for us, as our salvation came from His sacrifice), would they have believed him anyway?  Did they not call him in league with Satan, so they would have said he had the power to save himself from the devil?  Who knows?  How about today; would those who have made up their mind the there is no God be truly swayed by the finding of the Ark or some new scrolls seeming to authenticate the life of Jesus?

And here is a more important question: when called on to discuss or justify our belief  with provable facts (that at least the other person accepts), do we start to question ourselves when the proof for those facts don’t readily come?  What has been shown throughout man’s history is that in so many cases, the facts at hand are irrelevant to the truth.  For most of man’s existence, up to 1903, it was the general fact that man could not fly.  Did it change the fact that we could and do? No.  That atoms were only recently discovered doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist before.

That God is real is not dependent on man’s say so that we can prove it.  We are in no position to make the call.  That it impacts God or His plan that we believe is also irrelevant as shown by Jesus Christ’s admonition to the Jewish leadership, that the stones would cry out themselves, if man was not praising Jesus arrival into Jerusalem.

Who it is pivotally relevant to, is us.  We may indeed withhold our total following and committment until we “see” the proof and then believe.  We can expend much mental energy and perhaps physical and financial resources attempting to justify our faith with rational evidence.  To the extent that we do that, I fear we are falling into Satan’s trap and will find ourselves disappointed with a feeling of despair and loss.

Look around at creation, there is so much evidence of the beauty and perfection of God’s majesty.  Read the bible, Jesus, time after time, performed miracle after miracle.  Why? Just to prove who he was?  I don’t think so.  To show loving compassion, to show to what lengths God will go to heal are more in line with the intent of those miracles.

For us it is time to enter the Peace and Joy of belief; pure simple faith.  Like Jesus Christ many in the world will mock us and call us crazy.  They will continue in an existence of “prove it” before I’ll do it.  And God will sigh at them.

And by the Grace of God that surpasses all understanding and yes proving, we will be blessed.  As Jesus Christ said:  In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.  He who has overcome will not leave or forsake us.


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