Monday, March 24, 2008

The Necessity of Faith

“The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:16-17 CSB)

How interesting! The 11 disciples saw the resurrected Jesus on a mountain in Galilee. We do not know how soon after the resurrection this was, and we do not know who it was who doubted. The fact that some did doubt, however, raises a question or two: For what reason did they doubt? And what did they actually doubt?

We recall that when Jesus came walking on the water to the disciples during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, they were terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost. It may well be that some doubted the resurrection because they thought that maybe this was just the “ghost” of Jesus, and not a real body.

We should also recall the parable Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus. At the end of the parable Lazarus asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers about the place where he was. Lazarus was certain that if Lazarus were resurrected his brothers would repent and believe. But Abraham said, “No, even if someone were to return from the dead, they will not believe.” So, it may also have been a stubbornness of heart in some of the disciples.

This suggests something to us about the resurrection. The resurrection is not necessarily a cause for faith; rather, it is something that is received by faith. Even those disciples who did not doubt received what they saw by faith. Their minds did not go to the "ghost" idea, and they believed and trusted that this was the resurrected Jesus. We sometimes think that they believed because they saw, meaning that they did not really have to believe per se because they knew the resurrection to be a fact. Possibly, but the reality appears to be otherwise. The reality is that they saw, and then believed. Their belief eventually became so strong that it became a certainty for them, or, knowledge that Jesus was in fact resurrected.

Today, some will say, “If I were to see Him, then I would believe.” Not necessarily so. Remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Faith is an essential ingredient for receiving the resurrection as the truth.

Lord, We believe in You, and we believe the truth of Your resurrection. We pray for all who doubt it, that they may come to faith and truly believe that You were in fact raised from the dead. Amen.

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