WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, April 25, 2022 -“SEEING IS BELIEVING” OR “BELIEVING IS SEEING?”
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is John 20: 28-29, where the Bible says,
Thomas said to [Jesus], “My Lord and my God!”29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
“SEEING IS BELIEVING” OR “BELIEVING IS SEEING?”
Is seeing always believing or are there also things that are very real, even very true, that we cannot see just with our eyes? Our garage doors open by unseen forces at the touch of a button. We put our food into little rectangle devices and hit the button believing that, absent a heating element or a flame of any sort, microwaves will make our food piping hot. Even the most empirical of scientists has things in which he/she believes long before they are tested or visible to their eyes. One could make the case that observable science, the very scientific method we cherish today, was based on a belief that God created and ordered the world in such a way that it could be tested and its laws could be counted on. You might say that even the empiricist scientist had to believe in many things before he/she could actually see them.
Faith in God is a bit like that. It’s not that faith in God is totally absent data or information. But there are aspects to faith that are beyond our control. We are the creature; God is the Creator. He is the Redeemer; we are the redeemed. Faith in the God of the Bible does not consist merely of an academic exercise. Faith also begins to help us see the big picture of our lives here, and our lives eternally. In a paper delivered at the Oxford Socratic Club, C. S. Lewis remarked, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” The Founding Fathers of America believed in liberty because they believed that God had created humanity for such a dignified life. With that faith, they began to structure a government that would honor such freedom. In the fundamental questions of life, believing is seeing!
The tension between “believing is seeing” and “seeing is believing” helps explain what is going on in our reading for today. The text describes how “Doubting Thomas” finally saw Jesus as his Savior. But it took a living Jesus presenting the very wounds of His crucifixion to engender such faith (see John 20:27). But who was this Thomas character? What was he really like? Was he always the skeptic that many claim him to be? Was he a pessimist? A doubter? Well, if he was at times, he could also be tough and tenacious; he was no wilting violet. When Jesus was going to journey into dangerous territory, Thomas didn’t shrink back; instead, he boldly asserted, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). But it’s also true that he was confused and distraught over Jesus crucifixion. If someone tried to console him by claiming that Jesus didn’t really die, he wasn’t going to have any of that (see John 19:31-37). He knew it to be true and was so overwhelmed by it that no amount of wishful thinking would change his mind.
What he forgot was that this “believing is seeing” attitude of the Christian doesn’t work because of our inherent power or our wishful thinking. It works because God’s promises are always true. God’s promises always come to fruition. In His time and in His way, YES. But they always come true because He Himself is trustworthy and true.
Maybe Thomas did you and me a favor. He wasn’t going to let our wishful thinking be the foundation of our faith either. He wanted the fulfilled Word of Christ to be evident for all to see, even if he had to look a bit foolish for that to happen. In this Easter season, take a step back from the rat race of your job, take a step back from all the striving, and try to see the big picture of your life with God in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus has risen from the dead, your life is redeemed. It is eternal, and it has purpose now too. If your life doesn’t look like that at the moment, why not take Christ’s Word for it first and foremost? Then begin to live in that resurrection reality with its eternal blessings right now. Put the power of “seeing is believing” to work by reading and trusting in the Word of Jesus, the resurrected one who did all of this for people like “Doubting Thomas,” and people like you and me.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, teach us the depth of Your mercy for us, so that we might live faithful lives of grace and mercy to others. AMEN.
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