The sermon and worship for April 26, 2020 can be found here. You may want to listen to the sermon before you read my take.
John 20:24-29 is the basis for today’s sermon. When Thomas first hears that Jesus is alive, he says, “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.” (25)
I think it’s easy to relate this pandemic to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I can imagine the fear they must have felt. Thomas’ doubt is understandable. He wanted proof that it really was Jesus and that he was alive. Wouldn’t we all need some sign to convince us of the truth?
Was Jesus mad at Thomas for doubting? When they were together, Jesus said to him, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord an my God!” (27-28)
It doesn’t seem like he was angry with Thomas or that he judged him for doubting. Jesus was compassionate for the feelings of doubt that Thomas had, but he didn’t condemn him for those feelings. He let Thomas feel the scars and where the sword pierced his side.
During the COVID19 pandemic, many are suffering from doubts. Where is God in all of this? Why has he left us, they may be asking. But, we were never promised to not have troubles when we are on this earth. In fact, In John 16:33 Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Have you ever questioned or doubted your faith? I imagine most of us have at one time or another. It makes sense to me that God may want us to question our faith. Does it mean more to us if we take the word of our parents or if we somehow come to that conclusion on our own? When we explore or do our own research, we bring our doubts into the light.
As Jon says, you can’t just “fake it till you make it,” when it comes to faith. That kind of mentality just doesn’t work when we’re taking about faith. Do we become complacent in our belief because it’s exhausting to fight it?
Community is the antidote to doubt. Where Thomas needed peace and proof in seeing Jesus, community can help provide answers to our questions. Don’t stop asking questions. Faith grows when we’re honest with doubts and ask hard questions. It takes courage to bring your doubts into the presence of the Lord.
Jon leaves us with these steps to take when staring down our doubts.
– Pray first. – Slow down. – Know what you know. – Keep doing what you’re called to do. – Remember the scars. – Breathe in the Holy Spirit. Study Scriptures. Seek answers. – Your pursuit will lead you to faith.