On Easter Sunday, churches were filled with people who gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I am convinced that many of the people who went to church this Easter are still skeptics. Maybe you saw the emotional response of others, and you felt like it was all a little empty. Perhaps you heard someone talking about this man named Jesus, and you walked away not certain why there is so much fuss about a guy who lived 2,000 years ago. You may have friends or family members who want to talk with you about Jesus, but you’re just not interested. At best, you are not convinced any of this is true or matters.
Now that Easter is over, will you return to life as normal?
If you are skeptical, the story of the days following Jesus’ resurrection has a message just for you.
In John 20:24-29, a man named Thomas responds to rumors about the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. They tried to explain their experience with Jesus, but Thomas was not convinced. He told them he would never believe unless he saw Jesus for himself. Thomas did not want to just see Jesus, he had to see the scars and put his hand in his wounded body. Here is how Thomas’ story can be a guide for you as a skeptic.
1. Stay Open
Thomas’ story happens eight days after the disciples claimed that Jesus rose from the dead. Easter Sunday may not have meant anything for you, and Resurrection Day meant nothing for Thomas. Yet, eight days later, there he was still hanging out with Jesus’ other disciples. He didn’t run away or avoid them – he stayed connected with them. If you are a skeptic, I want to invite you to continue to spend time with people who seem pretty serious about following Jesus. I know, they may feel a little overbearing at times, but that is because they really believe this story is true. I invite you to stay open to the possibility that Jesus is everything He claims to be.
2. Jesus Is Not Offended by Your Skepticism
In John’s account of the story of Thomas, Jesus enters the scene in verse 26. He is well aware that Thomas is in the room, but Jesus shows no signs of being offended. Instead, Jesus greets everyone in the room – including Thomas – with the word “peace.” The word here is a blessing where Jesus is extending a desire for them to have quietness and be at rest. Jesus was not offended by Thomas’ skepticism, and He is not offended by yours. He simply wants you to receive a blessing of peace from Him.
3. Jesus Invites You to See the Evidence and Experience Him
Following the blessing of peace, Jesus then comes and speaks directly to Thomas. He invites Thomas to see the evidence that Jesus is alive. He invites Thomas to experience the wounds in His body. Jesus is inviting you to the same experience as Thomas. I did a podcast interview with Pastor Mark Clark where we talked about his book The Problem of God. This book and interview can be very beneficial for you to examine the evidence for Jesus.
If you want to experience Jesus, ask Him to show you. You may experience Him in the beauty of Creation or in the love His followers show for the poor and oppressed. You may experience Him in the privacy of your home or in the gathering of Christians in a local church. He does not want to be distant. He came to dwell amongst us so we could encounter Him.
4. Jesus Will Ask You to Make a Decision
Now, I need to be upfront with you too. Jesus does not want to just prove Himself to you as a skeptic. He does not need your approval or affirmation. When speaking to Thomas, Jesus said, “Do not disbelieve, but believe.” After all of the evidence has been examined, what will you believe. After all of the experiences occur, what will you believe? If Jesus really did rise from the dead like He said He would, then everything else He claimed about Himself is true as well. Jesus invites you, a skeptic, to believe. Why? Because He really loves you and wants you to know true life.
Believing In Jesus
To believe in Jesus means more than acknowledging the historical accuracy of His life. To believe in Jesus is beyond trying to live by His moral teachings. When He invites us to believe, He invites us to trust Him in all of His fullness. Jesus wants you to know real peace, but it can only be known by believing in Jesus. He wants you to personally know God, but He can only be known by believing in Jesus.
If you want to know more about believing in Jesus, drop me a note or ask me a question. I would love to interact with you on His invitation.