Wayne Weekly “Empty Doubts”
Written by Wayne Taylor on April 23, 2019
What does it take for someone to believe?
The account of the resurrection of Christ and His appearing might surprise you.
Let’s look at His post resurrection appearances.
Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. Who would think that this Mary would be the first to witness the resurrected Christ? At some point Jesus miraculously cast out seven demons from Mary, and from that time forward she followed Jesus faithfully.
At the tomb Mary encountered the risen Lord. After stooping down and peering into the tomb she witnessed two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain. Moments later she heard a voice asking “Woman, why are you weeping.” Mary turned around and saw Jesus, but did not know it was Him. Again the question was asked, Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” God’s Word tells us that she thought He was the gardener…until Jesus uttered her name, “Mary”. She turned toward Him, recognizing the Savior and said “Rabboni” or “Dear Teacher!”— “Don’t hold on to me,” Jesus said to her, for I have not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brothers and tell them, “ I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” Mary believed and obeyed. The disciples, they did not believe her report.
The other woman came to the tomb and were greeted by angels, dazzling in white. The women were terrified. Don’t be afraid said one angel, Jesus is not here He is risen. Go tell His disciples. On the way Jesus Himself met them and greeted them with “Rejoice”. The women grabbed His feet and worshipped. “Go to my brothers and tell them.” The women did just that. The disciples did not believe.
On the road to Emmaus, the resurrected Christ appeared to two men walking on the road. They were discussing the current events that happened in Jerusalem. They were kept from recognizing Him the Scriptures say. When Jesus asked them about their conversation, and why their faces were so sad, they were surprised this stranger had not heard of the news, and by Jesus bidding, they told Jesus of the powerful prophet from Nazareth and the accounts of the week. Jesus then explained to the two the prophecies about Himself. Later as they were breaking bread together, their eyes were opened, and they knew who He was. Then He vanished. “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He spoke with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
They returned to Jerusalem and told the disciples. The disciples did not believe.
It was evening on the first day of the week, and the disciples were assembled behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews. As they were talking Jesus Himself came and stood among them and said to the “Peace to you.” Shocked and terrified the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost. Look at my hands and my feet, touch me and see. I’m not a ghost. Only then did the disciples become joyful at seeing the Lord. Do you have anything to eat? They gave Him fish and a honeycomb. He ate in front of them and breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. It was then they believed.
Now it was Thomas who was absent at that time. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” “Unless I see the imprint of the nails in His hands and press my finger into the mark of the nails and my hand into His side, I refuse to believe.” Eight days later, as the disciples were gathered behind lock doors, once again Jesus came in and stood before them, including Thomas. “Put your fingers here and look into my hands and press it into my side, and stop doubting and believe.” Thomas answered, “My Lord and My God!”
Thomas then believed.
Afterwards Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples again by the Sea of Tiberius. Deciding to go fishing, the disciples left shore in their boat and cast the net into the water. As morning arrived a figure on shore cried out, “Children, do you have any fish?” The answer was no. “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some.” The net became so full they could not pull it in. John said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” Peter jumped in and swam to shore where Jesus had built a fire of coals with fish laid atop and bread. Then Jesus addressed all the disciples, “Come have breakfast” This was the third time Jesus had revealed Himself to His disciples after rising from the dead. And yes, the disciples now surely believed.
Jesus had to convince His followers that He was risen indeed, despite the numerous times He had told them beforehand. He appeared to many others afterwards as well. It is written in God’s word, “He showed Himself alive…by many infallible proofs.” And we read, “He was seen later by over 500 brethren at once…”
So now, do you believe? Do you believe in a dead Jesus or in a living Savior? Do you believe the Easter story, or is it a fairy tale to you?
Only God can reveal Himself to you, only He can draw you to the cross.
He loves you. The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the World. Do you believe this? Have you realized this just now? Have you heard His voice speaking your name as Mary Magdalene did?
Have you, as it were, seen His hands and touched His side? If today you have heard His call, simply pray these words with me and believe.
God in heaven, I believe you sent your Son for me, to die for my sins on Calvary’s cross and pay the penalty that I deserved. I believe Jesus rose from the grave and offers me a home with Him in eternity. Forgive me for my sin, and transform me by your mercy and grace into a child of God. Be my Savior. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.