Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The intellectual human mind is wired to research, deep dive, seek and explore the truth behind everything. We are created to be curious about what we don’t fully know. Researchers develop theories and spend a lifetime in shaping ideologies after extensive experimentation and established facts. And when there is satisfactory proof or evidence to a theory, the world is willing to believe it. In most cases, it is easy to believe something when the proof is visible, when our eyes can see the impact.
The Bible passage quoted above (John 20:29) is taken from a conversation between Thomas, one of the disciples, and the resurrected Jesus. Earlier in the passage, Thomas did not believe it when the other disciples told him they saw the risen Saviour. He doubted them and argued that unless he saw the nail marks in Jesus’ hands, he would not believe (v 25). A few verses later we read that Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him touch His side and see the nail marks in His hands. That’s when Jesus said these words to Thomas.
But today, what is the convincing proof of the existence of God? Where is He? Why can we not see Him? Wouldn’t it be simpler to believe if we could see Him? How do we have faith in who we haven’t seen? Our fact-seeking minds pose these logical questions (and what’s wrong with being logical?)
I'm learning this lesson in the current period of lockdown. The year 2020 has left countries around the world shaken with fear and anxiety of a micro-organism that’s too small to be seen by the human eye: the novel coronavirus. We are taking all the precautionary measures we can to keep us and our loved ones safe. We have made conscious lifestyle adjustments even though we haven’t seen the virus with our own eyes. We hear about how harmful the virus can be and we trust what’s reported on the news. We blame the virus without doubt for the chaos the world is experiencing currently.
Yet the same human mind is doubtful to trust an unseen God. A God who is loving, caring and too big for our worldly eyes to comprehend.
The world tells us "there's no such thing as a free lunch," that there is an ulterior motive behind any kindness. So it is natural for our minds to accept that something can cause us harm rather than to believe that someone will go out of their way to do us good.
But the Bible shows us Jesus, the son of God, who left His heavenly glory and came to the world to die for our sins on the cross. He rose again on the third day, ascended to Heaven and is interceding for us.
Thomas the disciple of Jesus, who had seen His life so closely, could not believe Jesus’ resurrection until he saw Him with his own eyes. How much more difficult it can be for a generation who has not seen Jesus in person to believe in Him! Yet if it was not possible Jesus would not have encouraged us or challenged us with the words “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We need eyes of faith and hearts like little children to believe in this God who loves us unconditionally and saves us, not by our works but by His grace alone.
In this Easter season, in the confinement of quarantine, as we reflect on the existence of God and our faith in Him, let us pray that the eyes of our heart be opened, so we may have the faith to believe in the resurrected Saviour, even without seeing Him like Thomas did. Let us welcome Him into our hearts, for our lives to be transformed and made anew. And yes, we can sing with boldness,
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, He holds my future
My life is worth the living just because He lives