Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seeing Is Not Believing

Matthew 28:16-17
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted.

"I've got to see it before I believe it." We've heard people say this when they've heard something so incredible that it's hard to believe without proof. When President Obama announced that Osama Bin Ladin had been killed many people rejoiced because the mastermind behind the 911 attacks was dead but others doubted because they needed proof. At first, I began to speculate when they said they buried him at sea and I started seeing the right wing demanding photos for proof.

President Obama said he would not release the photos of a deceased Bin Ladin because, "that's not who we are," to show graphic pictures of a murdered man. Even if they produced photos there would still be some who doubted. They would say the photos were photoshopped. I think it has more to do with believing in your leader more than it does seeing proof.

Jesus told his disciples to meet him in Galilee after reports that he had gotten up from the dead. Jesus told the women to go tell the men he was alive and to meet him in Galilee. He told the least respected, women, to tell an incredible story to a group of traumatized men. Women and children in those times were last on the totem pole of social hierarchy yet Jesus sends women to validate his resurrection. You know it had to be hard for these men to believe because they saw Jesus die now you want us to believe he's alive? Seeing is believing! where's the proof? We need some photos!

The Eleven disciples went to Galilee to see Jesus and when they saw him they worshipped him but some doubted. Jesus resurrected from the dead is standing right there in front of them but some doubted. What more proof do you need? He's here and they still doubted. How can we be in His presence and still doubt?

1. Trauma numbs our hope. When we go through traumatic events in life it starts numbing our hope to the point that we can be in worship and still doubt that God can do it. Sometimes, it takes time for our emotions to catch up with our faith.

2. They knew him as man but not God. They had walked with Jesus for three years in ministry. They saw the miracles he had accomplished but somewhere some of them had become too familiar with the man Jesus that they couldn't see the God in Jesus. Jesus was more than a good teacher he was the Son of God. Knowing that should remove all doubt.

3. He didn't satisfy their agenda. Some of them, James and John, wanted to sit on his left and right in his earthly kingdom. Their understanding was that he was going to be King of Israel not the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Sometimes, when Jesus doesn't do what we have planned we start doubting as to whether it's really him or not.

4. It was too good to be true. They had already grieved his death, saw him put in the tomb, now he's supposed to be alive?! There are somethings God does for us that are too good to be true. When we realize that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can imagine or conceive then we know that there is nothing too good to be true if we just believe.

5. Maybe it was an impostor. We live in such a skeptical society and look for smoke and mirrors in every situation. You must use your discernment, think critically, but when it's all said and done you have to trust God. You have to trust him when you can't trace him.

6. They looked at his form but didn't listen to his voice. Jesus probably didn't look the same after the resurrection. Even the two disciples that walked with him on the Emmaus road didn't recognize him until they kept listening to him. Jesus said my sheep will harken to my voice. Instead of looking for a physical Jesus you need to be listening for his voice in other people.

7. They hadn't received the Holy Spirit yet. They wouldn't receive the Holy Spirit until after Jesus ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to experience the power of the resurrection and to move from mental ascent to a spiritual experience of the resurrection. The old folks used to sing, "you can't make me doubt him because i know too much about him." The Holy Spirit helps you to know Jesus beyond the cognitive and moves you to a more experiential grounding of who he is and where he is.

Dear God,

I have all the evidence I need that Jesus Christ is alive, because he lives in me. Help me to be living proof that the Savior lives. My life is no longer mine. I surrender to the Lordship of Jesus and I pray that others would see him in me.

In Jesus Name,


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