Tag Archives: Doubting Thomas

8 Days After The Resurrection-A Doubter

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

John 20:26

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Introduction

This account is from the eyes of Thomas who separated himself from the other disciples after the betrayal by Judas in the garden. He did not see them again for eight (8) days after Jesus appeared to the others.  Thomas became disappointed and did not want to see anyone.  Doesn’t that sound like many of us when we are discouraged?  We stay away from those who could help encourage us.

The meaning of the cross, the resurrection, and the words of Jesus were just starting to come together for 10 of the  original disciples plus the women who proved to be more committed and more brave than the men who watched the crucifixion from a distance (except James and John).   The disciples had seen Jesus on the third day after his death (1st Day of the week-Sunday).  Jesus began to build up their faith by not only appearing to them alive, but by teaching them from the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) about Himself.  This is the books of the Bible we call the Old Testament.  

“Then He (Jesus) said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”

Luke 24:44-45

Their faith, indeed,  began to grow as they heard Jesus give them a Bible study on how it was fulfilled in Himself, but Thomas was not with them and missed this important revelation.  Choosing, perhaps, to reevaluate everything that had happened.  He, like the disciples earlier in the week, was terribly disappointed and depressed.  He had hoped Jesus would save Israel and himself.  The cross seemed to dash all hopes of any deliverance!

How often do we miss the blessing of Bible study due to our depression and desire to be alone?  May Thomas’ story teach us to believe and trust and not to doubt.

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A Doubter

Greetings.  I am Thomas, one of his original 12 disciples.  I was commissioned by Jesus to do mighty works for the kingdom of God, but I am confused and skeptical, just as you may be.  Allow me to tell you what I know.

I have not seen the other disciples since the night of the Preparation Day.  We had eaten the Passover supper and looked forward to a festive weekend.

But most of us were scattered like sheep without a Shepard when Jesus was taken at the garden and then sent to trial and was crucified.  I saw Peter on the other side of the hill weeping on that horrible day.  My own tears were bitter and soaked my garments as they took that precious innocent man I had come to love and nailed him like an animal to a cruel wooden cross.

I know that Jesus is dead!  I saw him beaten, scourged and eventually expire on a Roman cross. He was a bloody mess after the all day cruelty and beatings.  He died on the afternoon of the Preparation Day.  This is the day you Gentiles call Friday.  It is the day us Jews and some of the converts prepare for the Sabbath, a day of rest and worship.  I have always enjoyed the Sabbath especially with Jesus, but this Sabbath was different.

We all retreated to a secret spot to literally rest from the exhausting events of the previous 24 hours, but our souls were not at rest.  The women had seen the body of Jesus and were resting according to the Sabbath commandment.  Their plan was to go to the tomb of Jesus at the rising of the sun on the First Day of the week to prepare his body for burial.

The Scribes and Pharisees wanted Jesus dead because they said He claimed to be God and that he could tear down the temple and build it again in three days.  Often Jesus would say things like this that made little sense to me. But, later he would explain it to His followers and we could see its true meaning.

Since the religious leaders didn’t want Jesus and the two thieves hanging on the cross during the Sabbath, they broke the legs of the thieves to hurry the death process.  When a man is hanging on the cross with broken legs, he is unable to push up against the nails in his feet and its platform to get a breath with their legs broken.  The diaphragm will collapse in such a way that they gasp for air and suffocate.

Such a disgusting and uncomfortable slow death, but since the Sabbath was only a few hours from starting, the three on the hill, called Golgotha, were fortunate and did not have to suffer for days… as have many others.  The Romans are so cruel! But, I don’t blame them.  It was our own religious leaders that pushed and pushed until they finally got what they wanted…the scourging and death of Jesus.

But, when the soldiers came to Jesus, they noticed He was already dead and did not break His legs but rather took a sword and pierced His side just to make sure.  Blood and water came forth.  I saw it even though I watched from a distance to protect myself from the same fate.   It was horrible!  It took the air out of me (so to speak) and made me wonder why I followed Jesus in the first place.  So, I know Jesus to be dead, even as the women when they went to His tomb that Friday afternoon to look at his body and to prepare spices to anoint Him early on the 1st Day of the week (Sunday morning).

It has been reported that Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus had cast out 7 demons, said  she had seen Jesus at the tomb with two angels.  But, I don’t know about her.  She did have demons didn’t she?  Jesus cast out her demons, but maybe one was left over and it is making her mad.  The whole city must be mad, because it is also reported many people who were dead were resurrected and appeared to many!  I have not seen any, but I must admit I have not been going out much lately. I feel lost and with no purpose or direction.  I just want to sleep.

Then I hear that about eight days ago on the day you Gentiles call Sunday, Cleopas and his friend were on their way to Emmaus and had an encounter with a spirit or something. It was reported to me by the other disciples that a stranger, spent a good three hours giving a comparative study of the writings of the Tanakh or the Old Testament as you call it.  As they walked down the dusty road towards Emmaus the stranger told them about how Jesus could be found all through scripture.  As they began to understand from the Tanakh about Jesus.  They could see why He had to die on the cross,.  It is reported they said, it made their “hearts burn within them.”

 I do remember Jesus saying something about dying and being resurrected, but it was so far from my thinking that I put it out of my mind.

Cleopas (one of the two men on the road to Emmaus)  reported that when they reached their destination, they begged him to stay and tell them more of what he knew.  But, the stranger turned out to be Jesus himself!  They apparently recognized him as He broke bread and then He disappeared.  Can you image that?  He just disappeared!

They then raced the 7 or 8 miles back to Jerusalem with the news of what had just happened.   But the disciples were skeptical, as I am.

Now the other disciples are claiming Jesus showed up at their meeting and that He also gave them a comparative study from the Tanakh about Himself.  He then asked for something to eat and he ate some fish.

So that is what I know so far.  It is all only rumor and wishful thinking as far as I am concerned.  Tragic events like this can lead you to think weird things.

 I think I will walk over and see how my friends are doing. The last time I saw them, they were fearful and unbelieving as I am, but something has come over them this last week.  They swear they have seen Jesus.

As I walk in, I notice the doors are not shut and there is a certain confidence in the countenance of each one.  Peter rushes over to me and says,

“We have seen the Lord!”

My response is quick and to the point,

Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

I am serious too!  His death has been difficult to both understand and accept.  My mind begins to fall back to those final moments before he died.  He said,

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

What did He mean by this?  Is there more to this than forgiveness?

As I am thinking about this, I look up and right there in front of me is Jesus!  But….Jesus…you….are… Am I seeing a spirit?  I don’t believe in ghosts!  Then I hear His voice and His words:

Thomas…. “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

I take my trembling finger and place it on the place where the nails were…both hands!  It is strange, to feel a scar where I saw nails piercing his skin only a week or so ago.   I reach out and put my hand inside His robe and feel the warmth of His skin and the scar where the sword had been.  I then look up at His eyes and I see the kindness and royalty of a wise and gentle king and savior.  He IS alive!  I fall at his feet and say in remorse and acknowledgment.

“My Lord and my God!”

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Conclusion

Jesus told Thomas these important words:

“Thomas,because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20: 29

How Important is the Resurrection in your life?  How important is studying the Old Testament to find Jesus?  Has your search for Jesus been confined to only a small portion of God’s word?

We will never have the experience (before Jesus returns) that Thomas had when he touched the risen and glorified body of Jesus.  But we can still find evidence which will result in faith to believe that Jesus is alive and is preparing a place for those who believe and love Him.  You see, faith is based on substance and evidence.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

If Christ was not raised, then the disciples are liars we have no hope and we are not saved from anything.  Those who have “fallen asleep” in Christ have perished.  And when we sleep in Christ, there is no resurrection for us.  If we only have a Christ that died and did not come back to life, He is just like every other person who claims to be God.  Follow the logic of Paul’s argument in the following portion of scripture:

“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, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”  1 Corinthians 15:  12-19

Here is the logic:

If Resurrection is not possible, nor important, then Jesus has not been raised.

If Jesus has not been raised then preaching and teaching is in vain.

If Preaching and teaching is vain then faith is empty (It has no substance-nor basis).

If faith is empty then that means the disciples are false witnesses because they said they saw him alive.

If the Disciples are false witnesses then Christ is not risen.

If Christ is not risen then our faith in Christ is futile. All those who have died have perished.

Since there is no hope of a resurrection, we are of men, most pitiable.

Paul told us that he did not want us to be ignorant about the resurrection and those who have fallen asleep (died).  If we are ignorant about it, we will sorrow like everyone else that does not have hope.  But, the fact that Jesus died and was resurrected gives us the hope of one day coming back to life through the resurrection:Our hope is that Jesus is all that He claimed to be.  He claims to have the keys of the grave and death (Revelation 1:8). He claims to be the resurrection and the life and even though we die, we will live again. John 11:25

“ But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring (resurrect) with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14

Paul goes so far as to provide us with the clearest passage in the Bible about the day when all who have died in Christ will be resurrected.  It will happen this way: The Lord will descend from heaven.  It will be loud because there is a shout and a loud trumpet.  Also the sky will be lit up with the angels and the glory of the Jesus and the Father.

Those in the grave will hear his voice and will meet with those who are alive at the 2nd coming and meet them in the air.  This is the start of eternity with Jesus.  This picture described by Paul is the comfort us who are to be resurrected one day we will all be reunited with those alive at His coming.  Not at any other time, but at His second coming:

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

 I Thessalonians 4:15-18

 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27 (Note: our reward is when he comes)

Then the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. Matthew 25:31

So how important is the resurrection?  It is critical to our salvation:

 “… if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

Why is the resurrection not discussed more?  It is the bedrock of the faith we follow regarding Jesus.

Many of the writers of the Bible believed in and put their hope in the resurrection.  Here is but a few:

Job:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives,

And He shall stand at last on the earth;

And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

That in my flesh I shall see God,

Whom I shall see for myself,

And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

Isaiah:

Your dead shall live;

Together with my dead body they shall arise.

Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;

For your dew is like the dew of herbs,

And the earth shall cast out the dead.Isaiah 26:19

Daniel:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2

David:

 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” Psalm 17:15

Abraham:

Of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead Hebrews 11:18

There is no precedence for the resurrection except for Jesus. No other person has raised themselves from the dead. Jesus said this about the resurrection:

Jesus said,

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  John 11:25

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

Until the Lord returns, the dead sleep and wait for the last day when Jesus will raise them up.  What a day that will be!

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3: 20-21

Look again at the resurrection of Jesus and His body.  Here you will see what our bodies shall look like.  As the verse above , and many other,  tells us:  We “wait” for that glorious day when He returns and changes us.  It is not until that day that we can say,

 “Oh death, where is thy sting?  Oh grave where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

We cannot say this at a funeral.  The context tells us, these words cannot be said, until our risen Savior returns and changes our bodies like to his risen body:

 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 

 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? :1 Corinthians 15: 51-55

In conclusion, let us not be a doubting Thomas, but believe.  We are promised a blessing if we do believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and that He is able to do the same for us!  He has promised to do that very thing when he returns.  Oh what a day that will be!

He’s Alive!-Now I Understand

Day 8 of the Week That Changed History

 It was like I had been reading the scripture the way I wanted it to read instead of letting it talk to me!

The following is based on Luke 24

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“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.   And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.  And they remembered his words,  And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”  Luke 24: 1-9

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It was early in the morning and the sky was getting brighter as I walked the dusty road speaking in low tones with my friend Cleopas about the things that had transpired over the last few days.  So many things!  All very bad!

It started with the arrest of Jesus in the Garden east of the city.   During the night and into the early morning of the Preparation Day (Friday) the soldiers and mob began to move Him between the governor and religious leadership. Then they beat Him to a pulp and eventually crucified Him on a Roman cross on the hill outside of Jerusalem later in the afternoon on the Preparation Day.  I watched as He hung His head and took his last breath. I think I saw Peter off in the distance.  He appeared to be on his knees with his face in his hands.  His disappointment must be very great! We all loved the gentle Jesus and will miss Him. He certainly went about doing good.  I just don’t understand. Why?

I will certainly be labeled as a fanatic believer by my brothers, the Sadducees.  The religious leadership have declared Jesus a blasphemer.

There had been an earthquake and the sun refused to let go of its light.  Darkness took over the land like a thick wet smothering blanket.  Everything seemed out of place…frightening.  The large curtain in the temple had been ripped from top to bottom by some unseen hand. There were even reports of  people, considered saints,  coming out of their graves and appearing to many in the city! (Matthew 27: 51-53)

My personal disappointment was great, because I believed everything He said and was amazed at His great miracles and works of kindness. We thought Him to be the Messiah prophesied by many of the prophets hundreds of years ago.  He was going to set up His kingdom and deliver the Jews from the iron rule of Rome.   He was the coming king upon which I hung all my hopes.   But, it seemed like He did not want the office of king.  I had left everything to follow Him and learn His teachings, but all this seemed to come to nothing on that Friday afternoon when He died.

Now only doubt, sadness, and disappointment draped itself on Cleopas and me. My head is spinning with confusion.  I  want explanation, but the reality of deception was creeping into my thoughts and it made me feel sick and foolish.  On top of everything else, the body of Jesus is missing!  The women said He was alive, confirmed by a couple of other disciples, but I know better.  It is just wishful thinking on their part. No one could have survived the beating, the nails, the loss of blood, and finally the sharp sword in the side.  I saw it and refuse to belief anything but what my eyes can confirm. There was no mistaking… the vision of so much blood and the pale appearance of death was real.

We are on our way to Emmaus to start over;  a walk of about 8 miles.  It will take me the usual 3 1/2 hours or so to walk…maybe longer today because of our conversation and heavy heart. This will give us plenty of time to try to put all the pieces together….to try to understand and make sense of everything and to decide what to do with the rest of our lives. My clothes are now those of the common person.  I have removed my garments  worn by the other Sadducees.

All of a sudden, and unexpected, a stranger walks up from behind and joins us.  He asks,

Why are you so sad and what are you discussing?”

I find these two questions odd in the light of the excitement and well-known events of the weekend. Slightly agitated and amazed Cleopas speaks before I can open my mouth and he answers the question with a question.  He throws in some sarcasm  for good measure.

Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem that does not know the things which happened there this last few days?”

 I am even more amazed when the stranger asks,

What things?”

In disbelief, we began to explain to the stranger the events of the last few days.  Reviewing everything does not help my disappointment and we rush through them as a courtesy to the stranger.

“These things concern Jesus of Nazareth who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people .  The chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.  But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.  Indeed, besides all this today is the third day since these things happened.  Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.  Then they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

Then the stranger calls Cleopas and me foolish ones and that we are slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken  This is certainly not so! I have always believed the prophets.  I have come from a family who believes in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and I have read it often.  The prophets said, that the Messiah would come and deliver Israel from its enemies.

But the stranger began to recite the writings of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy) and all the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Malachi, etc)  of the Tanakh and explain things I had missed before.

The stranger clearly points out passages that were references to Jesus.  For the next 3 hours, I am amazed at the knowledge and clarity of the stranger’s words.  As I listened to him recite our ancient books, I begin to see that it was necessary for Jesus to die for the sins of the world, but that He would be raised up the third day!  How had I missed that?  Why had we not believed Jesus when He said it was necessary for Him to die and that he would rise again?  It was like I had been reading the scripture the way I wanted it to read instead of letting it talk to me!  Indeed, we felt foolish, but encouraged by the words of the stranger.  My heart burned within me!  I wanted to hear more!  This was all exciting and new to me!  Hope was starting to spring up in my heart! What if Jesus really was alive again?

As we near the village it is almost dark. I don’t want the stranger to go and I look for excuses for Him to stay the night so we can hear more. Thankfully, He agrees to have supper with us.

As He breaks the bread, I recognize those hands and the manner in which He breaks the bread!  I finally look across the table into his eyes about the same time as Cleopas.  It is Jesus!  As soon as we recognize him, He disappears!  We had been talking to Jesus the whole time and we didn’t recognize Him!

With intense excitement and joy, Cleopas and I jump up and run the 8 miles back to Jerusalem in the dark!   We must tell the  others who were behind closed doors…those who share our confusion and disappointment.  When we arrive,  we find them huddled in a group in fear and disappointment.  Out of breath, we begin to tell them what had happened over the last several hours.  As we are telling them, Jesus appears in the room!

Everyone jumps back.  They think they are seeing a spirit, but Jesus tells them it is Him and that He is not a spirit. To prove it, He invites them to touch Him and He asks for something to eat.  They give Him some  fish and some honeycomb.  After everyone settles down and the scales of their eyes begin to fall away, Jesus repeats  the same type of study Cleopas and I heard on the road to Emmaus.  This time, He uses the entire Tanakh including the Psalms to explain how He is found all through scripture. All the disciples begin to understand that He had to die, but that He would rise on the third day.  How could we have been so slow to understand?  It was right there!

Then He said to us,

These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you.  that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.  And He opened our understanding that we might comprehend the Scriptures.”

The only disciple not with us is Thomas.  The disappointment of the cross was too much for him.  We have not seen him since Friday.  It will be 8 days before Thomas shows up….

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 Next, we will take a look at Jesus through the eyes of one who is a well-known doubter (Thomas) and attempt to understand why the resurrection of Jesus is an absolute cornerstone of the Christian faith. In fact, without it, Paul says we are most pitiful of all men (1 Corinthians 15: 12-19). But, after we see through the eyes of Thomas we will exclaim as he did:

“My Lord and My God.”  John 20:28 

What to Do With Doubt-Part 3 (Resurrection)

Have you ever thought about the claims of Jesus when he said,

 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

John 11:25

How important is the resurrection of Jesus? Was it a real event or did Jesus’ disciples just dream it up?  What will our bodies be like when we are resurrected?  What happens before then?

Doubt can be diminished as a person comes to believe that Jesus was resurrected and He has the same plan for us when He returns.

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This account is from Thomas who seems to have separated himself from the other disciples after the crucifixion and did not see them again for about 8 days (John 20:26) after Jesus appeared to them.  At the end of this story, continue to read to find out exactly how important the resurrection is in the life of the believer and in dispelling doubt.

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Greetings.  I am Thomas, one of his original 12 disciples.  I was commissioned by Jesus to do mighty works for the kingdom of God, but I am confused and skeptical, just as you may be.  Let me tell you what I know and the timelines.  I have not seen the other disciples since the last supper which was on the day before the Preparation Day.  You would call it Thursday.  Most of us were scattered when He went to trial and was crucified.  I think I saw Peter on the other side of the hill weeping on that day.

First of all, I know that Jesus is dead!  I saw him beaten, scourged and eventually nailed to a Roman Cross. He died on the afternoon of the Preparation Day.  This is the day you Gentiles call Friday.  It is the day us Jews and the converts prepare for the Sabbath, a day of rest and worship.  I have always enjoyed the Sabbath especially with Jesus, but this Sabbath was different.  We all retreated to a secret spot to literally rest from the events of the previous 24 hours, but our souls were not at rest.  The women had seen the body of Jesus and were resting according to the Sabbath commandment.  Their plan was to go to the tomb of Jesus at the rising of the sun on the First Day of the week to prepare his body. (John 20:19 and Luke 23:56)

The Scribes and Pharisees wanted Jesus dead because they said He claimed to be God and that he could tear down the temple and build it again in three days.  Often Jesus would say things like this that made little sense to me. But, later he would explain it to His followers and we could see its true meaning.

Since the religious leaders didn’t want Jesus and the two thieves hanging on the cross during the Sabbath, they broke the legs of the thieves to hurry the death process.  You see, a man hanging on the cross with broken legs is unable to push up against the nails in his feet to get a breath with their legs broken.  The diaphragm will collapse in such a way that they smother to death.  Such a disgusting and uncomfortable slow death, but since the Sabbath was only a few hours from beginning, they were fortunate and did not have to suffer for days as have many others.  The Romans are so cruel! But, I don’t blame them.  It was our own religious leaders that pushed and pushed until they finally got what they wanted…the scourging and death of Jesus.

But, when the soldiers came to Jesus, they supposed he was already dead and did not break his legs but rather took a sword and pierced his side just to make sure (John 19: 31-37).  Blood and water came forth.  I saw it even though I watched from a distance to protect myself from the same fate.   It was horrible!  It took the air out of me (so to speak) and made me wonder why I followed Jesus in the first place.  So, I know Jesus to be dead!  Even the women went to His tomb that Friday afternoon to look at his body and to prepare spices to anoint him early on Sunday morning.

Mary Magdalene, who Jesus had cast out 7 demons, said that she had seen Jesus at the tomb with two angels.  But, I don’t know about her.  She did have demons didn’t she?  Jesus cast out her demons, but maybe one was left over and it is making her mad.  The whole city must be mad, because it is reported that many people who were dead were resurrected and appeared to many! (Matthew 27:53)  I have not seen any, but I must admit I have not been going out much lately. I feel lost and with no purpose or direction.  I just want to rest.

Then I hear that about eight days ago on the day you Gentiles call Sunday, Cleopas and his friend were on their way to Emmaus and had an encounter with a spirit or something. It was reported to me by the other disciples that a stranger, spent a good three hours giving a comparative study of the writings of the Tanakh or the Old Testament as you call it.

As they walked down the dusty road towards Emmaus the stranger told them about how Jesus could be found all through scripture.  As they began to understand from the Tanakh about Jesus, they could see why He had to die on the cross, they said it made their “hearts burn within them.”  I remember Jesus saying something about dying and being resurrected, but it was so far from my thinking that I put it out of my mind.

Cleopas reported that when they reached their destination, they begged him to stay and tell them more of what he knew.  But, the stranger turned out to be Jesus himself!  They apparently recognized him as He broke bread and then He disappeared.  Can you image that?  He just disappeared!

They then raced back to Jerusalem with the news of what had just happened.   But the disciples were skeptical as I am. Now the other disciples are claiming Jesus showed up at their meeting and that he also gave them a comparative study from the Tanakh about himself.  He then asked for something to eat and he ate some fish.

So that is what I know so far.  It is all only rumor and wishful thinking as far as I am concerned.  Tragic events like this can lead you to think weird things.  So I think I will walk over and see how my friends are doing. The last time I saw them, they were fearful and unbelieving as I am, but something has come over them the last week.  They swear they have seen Jesus.

As I walk in, I notice the doors are not shut and there is a certain confidence in the countenance of each one.  Peter rushes over to me and says,

“We have seen the Lord!”

My response is quick and to the point,

Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

I am serious too.  His death has been difficult to both understand and accept.  My mind begins to fall back to those final moments before he died.  He said,

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

What did He mean by this?  Is there more to this than forgiveness?

As I am thinking about this, I look up and right there in front of me is Jesus!  But….Jesus…you….are… Am I seeing a spirit?  I don’t believe in ghosts!  Then I hear His voice and His words:

Thomas…. “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

I take my trembling finger and place it on the place where the nails were…both hands!  It is strange, to feel a scar where I saw nails piercing his skin only a week or so ago.   I reach out and put my hand inside His robe and feel the warmth of His skin and the scar where the sword had been.  I then look up at His eyes and I see the kindness and royalty of a wise and gentle king and savior.  He IS alive!  I fall at his feet and say in remorse and acknowledgment.

“My Lord and my God!”

_______________________

“…we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.”

Philippians 3: 20, 21

How Important is the Resurrection in your life?

How important is it in your experience and understanding of the Second Coming? Why is this so important?  Can’t we just believe that he existed and that be enough?

Jesus told Thomas these important words:

“Thomas,because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20: 29

We will never have the experience that Thomas had when he touched the risen and glorified body of Jesus, but we can still find evidence which will result in faith to believe that Jesus is alive and is preparing a place for those who believe and love Him.  You see, faith is based on substance and evidence.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

If Christ was not raised, then the disciples are liars we have no hope and we are not saved from anything.  Those who have “fallen asleep” in Christ have perished.  And when we sleep in Christ, there is no resurrection for us.  If we only have a Christ that died and did not come back to life, He is just like every other person who claims to be God.  Follow the logic of Paul’s argument in the following portion of scripture:

“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, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”  1 Corinthians 15:  12-19

Here is the logic:

If Resurrection is not possible, nor important, then Jesus has not been raised.

If Jesus has not been raised then preaching and teaching is in vain.

If Preaching and teaching is vain then faith is empty (It has no substance-nor basis).

If faith is empty then that means the disciples are false witnesses because they said they saw him alive.

If the Disciples are false witnesses then Christ is not risen.

If Christ is not risen then our faith in Christ is futile. All those who have died have perished.

Since there is no hope of a resurrection, we are of men, most pitiable.

Paul told us that he did not want us to be ignorant about the resurrection and those who have fallen asleep (died).  If we are ignorant about it, we will sorrow like everyone else that does not have hope.  But, the fact that Jesus died and was resurrected gives us the hope of one day coming back to life through the resurrection.

Our hope is that Jesus is all that He claimed to be.  He claims to have the keys of the grave and death (Revelation 1:8). He claims to be the resurrection and the life and

“even though we die, we will live again.”

John 11:25

“ But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring (resurrect) with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14

Paul goes so far as to provide us with the clearest passage in the Bible about the day when all who have died in Christ will be resurrected.  It will happen this way: The Lord will descend from heaven.  It will be loud because there is a shout and a loud trumpet.  Also the sky will be lit up with the angels and the glory of the Jesus and the Father.

Those in the grave will hear his voice and will meet with those who are alive at the 2nd coming and meet them in the air.  This is the start of eternity with Jesus.  This picture described by Paul is the comfort us who are to be resurrected one day we will all be reunited with those alive at His coming.  Not at any other time, but at His second coming:

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

 I Thessalonians 4:15-18

 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  (Note: our reward is when he comes)

Matthew 16:27 

Then the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. Matthew 25:31

So how important is the resurrection?  It is critical to our salvation:

 “… if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

Why is the resurrection not discussed more?  It is the bedrock of the faith we follow regarding Jesus.

Many of the writers of the Bible believed in and put their hope in the resurrection.  Here is but a few:

Job:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives,

And He shall stand at last on the earth;

And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

That in my flesh I shall see God,

Whom I shall see for myself,

And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

Isaiah:

Your dead shall live;

Together with my dead body they shall arise.

Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;

For your dew is like the dew of herbs,

And the earth shall cast out the dead.Isaiah 26:19

Daniel:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2

David:

 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” Psalm 17:15

Abraham:

Of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead Hebrews 11:18

There is no precedence for the resurrection except for Jesus. No other person has raised themselves from the dead. Jesus said this about the resurrection:

Jesus said,

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  John 11:25

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

Until the Lord returns, the dead sleep and wait for the last day when Jesus will raise them up.  What a day that will be!

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there (heaven), the Lord Jesus Christ,  who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3: 20-21

Look again at the resurrection of Jesus and His body.  Here you will see what our bodies shall look like.  As the verse above , and many other,  tells us:  We “wait” for that glorious day when He returns and changes us.  It is not until that day that we can say,

 “Oh death, where is thy sting?  Oh grave where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

We cannot say this at a funeral.  The context tells us, these words cannot be said, until our risen Savior returns and changes our bodies like to his risen body:

 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 

 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? :1 Corinthians 15: 51-55

In conclusion, let us not be a doubting Thomas, but believe.  We are promised a blessing if we do believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and that He is able to do the same for us!  He has promised to do that very thing when he returns.  Oh what a day that will be!  The great “getting up morning”!

“In that great gettin’ up mornin’ fare the well, fare the well.”