Must we see to truly believe?
Do you believe in Easter? Do you believe in the resurrection?
Some say, seeing is believing. Much of the description of the resurrection in chapter 20 of the Book of John seems to be about seeing and believing.
You will recall that when Mary Magdalene came onto the scene and saw the stone had been rolled away, she thought grave robbers had taken the body away and she ran back to Peter and the beloved disciple who ran to the empty tomb. And it was when the beloved disciple entered the tomb, he saw and believed. John 20:8.
Seeing is believing. But, in fact, in chapter 20 we find that even seeing may not be enough to believe, or at least to believe correctly. Mary Magdalene thought grave robbers had taken the body. And later, even when Jesus himself appears to her, she sees him, but doesn’t recognize him, she thinks he’s the gardener. For Mary Magdalene, seeing became believing only after she heard Jesus’ voice saying her name. Finally seeing was believing.
Later, the Lord appeared before the disciples and Thomas wasn’t there. When they tell Thomas about it, he said unless I see him with my own eyes and touch the scars on his hands and sides, I will not believe.
When Jesus appears a week later, and Thomas is there, Jesus shows himself to Thomas telling him to touch his hands and his side. Thomas believes and says, “My Lord and my God.” Seeing is believing. And Jesus said to him, “Do you believe just because you see me, blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” John 20:29.
Is seeing believing for us? We’re the ones Jesus was talking about to Thomas, aren’t we? We are the ones who are blessed because we believe even without seeing, or do we see. I wonder?
Sure, we may not have had that purely physical encounter with the risen Jesus that Mary or Thomas or the disciples had, but we can’t really say we haven’t had an encounter of some kind. Have you seen someone who has come to the saving knowledge of Christ in their lives, and have you seen how it has changed them, transformed them?
You are seeing the risen Savior there, you’re seeing the risen Christ there, the Spirit of Jesus is at work. The Holy Spirit is at work there. Right now, we see Jesus in the health workers around the country and the world working so diligently against this terrible scourge of a virus.
Jesus is there with them healing and providing care and comfort. And I hope you see it in yourselves, how you’ve changed as the risen Christ has entered your life, and seeing that change, seeing Christ work on you, I hope you will continue to believe. Easter is true.
REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.