Loved Despite Doubt

Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays of the year. It is such a wonderful reminder to me of how important the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is to my faith. If you ask most ministers who work in a church, they will tell you that Easter is one of the most stressful yet rewarding and joyous times of the year. It is stressful because there is a lot of preparation that goes into the weekend (or week depending on how much of the holy week is celebrated through programming). Between Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday and of course the Easter egg hunt for the kids, there is a lot to do. It can also be an emotionally draining week because the content, although it all leads up to a great celebration, also includes the death of Jesus which is a very emotional story. However, it all comes together to create one of the best opportunities to share the Gospel with a multitude of people.

One thing that I find interesting about the celebration of Easter is that it seems like we spend a whole week following Jesus through his last days alive in the flesh on earth and the celebration ends with the phrase “Jesus is alive!” But there is so much more that we can learn from the events that followed His resurrection. This is why, when I was a children’s minister, I would always make a point to continue the story for the following few weeks and focus on some of the events leading up to the ascension of Jesus. My favorite story to tell was that of Jesus and his interaction with his disciple Thomas.

The story of Jesus appearing to Thomas after his resurrection is found in John 20:24-29. 

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

It would be easy for me to read this story and start blaming Thomas for his doubt. And in fact, that is often the direction we go (we have giving him the nickname doubting Thomas for instance). But when I really think about my life, I have to confess that I too have doubts sometimes. Now I do not doubt who Jesus is or that He died and rose from the dead. But I also have the full picture of what happened because of the blessing of scripture. What I do find myself doubting sometimes is if I am really worthy of receiving God’s grace. Why would He die for me when I am a sinful person. It is in those moments that I really relate to Thomas. I would not want the nickname “doubting Chris” but I probably deserve it. 

However, in those moments when I find it hard to believe that the grace of God extends to me, I like to reflect on Romans 5:8;

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

It is important for me to remember that in my times of doubt, when I find it hard to understand why Christ would die for me, that it is not my actions that bring me salvation, but only the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus still loved Thomas despite his doubt. And God still loves you and me despite ours. 

My hope and prayer is that you would rest in the great truth that Jesus is alive and because of the great love of God, we all have the opportunity to be saved! I challenge you to continue to study the story of Jesus now that Easter weekend is over. Spend the next few days reading the final part of the Gospels and see what truths you can glean from those scriptures. 

Grace and Peace,

Chris Crowe – Campus Minister