Jesus & My Doubts
Big Idea |
Jesus knows, engages, and dispels the doubts of His people.
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One thing we all have in common, whether we are Christians or non-Christians is this: Every one of us has doubts about God. Even if we don’t doubt His existence we do question His character and His capability. We wonder: Is God who He says He is? Can He do everything He claims?
See, it's never a question of whether we doubt, it’s a question of how we deal with our doubt. As Christians, we have to confront our doubt with the Word of God in order to strengthen our faith.
Faith will force out our doubt.
To clarify, faith is not blind belief; faith is the confident alignment of our head, heart, and hands in trusting that God is and does all He promises. Faith involves making a cognitive decision about what we believe to be true, internalizing this belief deep into our soul, and then letting our actions bear witness to what we profess to believe.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us the Bible is not a normal book; it is God’s book and it is alive and active: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
God Himself can speak to us through His Word and strengthen our faith. Its in God's Word that we can begin to understand Jesus’ perspective and position regarding our doubt.
Jesus’ interaction with Thomas – the apostle whose name has almost become synonymous with doubt – helps us understand that Jesus knows, engages, and dispels the doubts of His people.
In John 20:24-29, we read that despite the many witnesses testifying to Jesus’ resurrection, Thomas struggled to believe. From his perspective, someone coming back from the dead seemed a preposterous claim and his skepticism was understandable. Thomas went on record saying, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (v.25)
On Sunday night, eight days after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were gathered again in a meeting room behind locked doors. They feared the Jewish authorities were going to accuse them of stealing Jesus’ body and arrest them, or worse. In the midst of what must have been a rather stressful gathering, Jesus appeared seemingly out of nowhere and announced, “Peace be with you.”
Though it was stunning and terrifying, the means of Jesus’ appearance wasn’t as important as His motivation in appearing.
He was there to see Thomas.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (v.27)
In this simple interaction we can make at least three observations about Jesus and our doubts:
1. Jesus wants to engage my doubts, so I should come to Him.
“Then He said to Thomas…”
Notice, Jesus didn’t rebuke Thomas or make him feel stupid. He simply engaged him right where he was and addressed his doubts directly. In the same way, He wants to engage us in our doubts. He doesn’t want us hiding, ignoring, or embracing our doubts. He wants us to bring them to Him.
2. Jesus already knows my doubts, so I should be honest with Him.
“Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side.”
Jesus hadn’t even been in the room, yet he knew that Thomas was consumed with doubt and He knew exactly what those doubts were. God already knows our doubts, too. We may put on a good show of fervent faith, but the only person we’re not fooling is Jesus. We need to get honest with Him and with each other about our doubts.
3. Jesus desires to dispel my doubts, so I should believe Him.
“Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Jesus took the initiative, coming to Thomas with the specific purpose of dispelling all of his doubts. God is big enough to bear the weight of our doubts as well. He doesn’t want us to live in perpetual doubt and cynicism.
Doubt is a disease to be destroyed, not a companion to be embraced.
Thomas believed because he saw Jesus with His own eyes and touched Him with his own hands. Jesus affirmed his belief and then made a thrilling promise to you and me: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (v. 28-29)
We can’t see and touch Jesus personally as Thomas did, but we have something Thomas didn’t: the full Word of God at our fingertips. Through the power of His Word, God can strengthen our faith and show us that He is who He says He is and that He will do everything He has promised.
Questions for further reflection:
- Am I willing to bring my doubts to Jesus? Or, am I hiding, ignoring, or embracing them?
- Am I honest with Jesus about my struggles to believe? Furthermore, am I honest with the community God's placed me in?
- What specific aspects of God's character and capability am I struggling to believe? Where does God's Word speak to this in an effort to strengthen my faith?
(Adapted by Diane Rivers from a sermon entitled, "Jesus & My Doubts")