May 13th, 2019

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Grace for the Skeptic
John 20:19-31


  • What is the Big News here?

    • Jesus is alive! Jesus breathes upon them the Holy Spirit!

      • Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created
      • John 1:1a In the beginning was the Word
      • Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God …breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
      • John 20:22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit."
    • But Thomas steals the show..
      • He wasn't there, he didn't see, he wouldn't believe!
    • How did Jesus respond to him?
      • With compassion, by letting him see.
      • With a final Beatitude
    • Why is there so much “active unbelief” nowadays?
      • God interferes with their "good time"
      • God has let them down (or God’s people)
        • These are often the “burned” or the wounded... like Thomas.  Such skepticism is very often the result of pain, and leads to emptiness
      • We imagine Thomas' disbelief as intellectual, but maybe it was relational
        • He didn't believe his friends' eyewitness accounts, or his Rabbi's past teachings & miracles
        • He was grieving, and this was "too good to be true;"
      • But what are we to make of what Jesus said to Thomas?
        • Can you imagine a case where demanding evidence is wrong? (How about "Prove that you love me!”)
        • Some may think that what is "leaped over" through faith is a lack of evidence. But in my experience, it is more about the struggle in our hearts (insecurities, fear of being hurt, etc.) than the struggle in our heads
        • Like "love," we can say a lot or a little when we say, "I believe"
          • ex 1: "I believe it's going to rain."
          • ex 2: "I believe this airplane is safe."
          • ex 3: "I believe in my wife."
        • "Belief in Christ" is that kind of belief that starts with a realization and moves quickly to trust, then over time permeates the center of your being and fills every corner of your life...
          • (Like Thomas says: "My Lord and my God!")
        • I LOVE talking with those who have honest intellectual struggles, for they are searching for the truth
          • But for MANY this last beatitude could effectively be translated "blessed are those who believe without an injured heart impeding their way"
          • Will we be there to assure them that God in Jesus felt the same grief and pain at the unjustness of this broken world? That is at the CORE of the Good News!



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