Faith or Sight – Trusting Christ Because of His Word, Not Experience

In John 20 verse 25 Thomas said that he would not believe Jesus had risen from the dead and was alive unless he was able to put his fingers in the nail prints of Jesus’ hands and side. When Jesus reappeared eight days later he walked in and Thomas saw him with his own eyes. Without the need for putting his fingers in the wounds of Jesus he declared that Jesus was alive and was God.

The disciples were with Jesus for more than three years but they seemed to not completely understand that Jesus was God. They saw His miracles and heard His teaching, but their words and actions spoke to the fact that they did not completely understand who Christ was. Here Thomas proclaimed, “my Lord and my God.” He finally recognized Jesus for who he was—the God of the universe.

Jesus was willing to allow Thomas to follow through with his proclamation for not believing unless he touched Jesus (even though Jesus would not allow Mary to touch Him in verse 17). Thomas was satisfied. Jesus acknowledged that Thomas wanted to see, hear and touch Him. After that though, Jesus turned the emphasis from experiencing the presence of Christ to believing through faith.

Jesus then said to Thomas, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” I believe Christ was speaking for our benefit. We have not been able to physically experience Jesus, but through faith in His Word we can know Him.

We are told in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This was after an explanation that there is a need for people to proclaim the God’s Word. We can know God and Jesus Christ through the Bible. We don’t need the experiences. In fact, Jesus proclaimed a blessing on those who believe in Him through faith and not through sight.

To know Jesus Christ we need to read and study the Bible personally. It is great to be part of a church and to have a pastor and Sunday School teachers who will guide you, but personal Bible study is where your faith will increase.

Don’t Stone the Messenger

Joshua and Caleb stood before the children of Israel in Numbers 14 ready to give their report of what they saw in the Promised Land. Verses 7 through 9 is their impassioned plea to the people to trust the Lord’s leading.

And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

Their report was that the land was “exceeding good.” The land flowed with milk and honey. The Israelites shouldn’t fear the Canaanites, though they were giants, because God was on their side. It was time to trust God and receive their promised inheritance.

But the reaction of the people isn’t what we would expect. Numbers 14:10 says:

But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.

Their reaction was to pick up stones and kill the two men who brought the report that God was with them and God would do the work needed to overtake the land. The people could not bring themselves to trust the promises of God. The result is that they wandered in a wilderness for 40 years and all the adults, save the 2 they wanted to stone, died before entering the Promised Land 40 years later.

What is it today that you have trouble trusting God about? Would you rather obey God, or silence the ones who bring the message of victory just because you don’t want to hear it?