Because He Lives-Be Bold (April 3, 2016)

Blog Topic: 

NT: Acts 5:27-32                    Gospel: John 20:19-31

 

Prayer

What is going on, with these disciples,  is something they ate that has caused this change of attitude in the disciples?

 

What has gotten into them? After being threatened by powerful leaders, arrested, jailed, and miraculously released, the apostles went back to preaching. This was nothing less than God’s power working through them!

 

Why do you think they did this? They did because they were witnesses, not just of Jesus’ life, his miracles and his life transforming sayings. They saw him in his resurrected state.

 

Because He lives, this knowledge transformed them.

 

BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT HE LIVES, IT TRANSFORMED THEM FROM DOUBT TO FAITH

What does John tell us?

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

 

Now it would not be strange to wonder if they were drinking some of that new wine that Jesus had made at the wedding of Canaan.  It would not be the first time people thought the behavior of the apostles was as a result of them being drunk (read Acts). If they were drunk this would seem like a very vivid visual and auditory hallucination.  If the door is locked and Jesus is in the room then he must be a ghost!

 

We have to thank God for Thomas, or we could have come to such a conclusion. Yes, we have to thank Doubting Thomas, doubting a label, he will forever hold in the books of history. If it was not for Thomas, saying his doubt out loud we would be in doubt, we would be DOUBTFUL about what really, happened.

 

Thomas is like that kid in your class that asks that question that makes everyone laugh. But when the teacher answers this “stupid” question, it gives clarity to some other people. Even makes some people realize that they never really understood.

 

Thomas is like that kid that when the teacher as “Do you understand?” Everyone says “yes, Miss” but his “No miss” can be heard among the yeses and when the teacher explains another way , the others get more clarity.

 

Thanks to Thomas putting his doubt out there – we all get confirmation that Jesus was not a ghost but a person, the Son of God, not yet ascended.

 

Thomas was not there when Jesus appeared though he heard the disciples say they saw him. He wasn’t saying they were liars, he just needed confirmation for himself, he wanted to see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, in order to believe.

 

There is nothing wrong with asking questions, if the question is driven by a desire to pursue answers. There is nothing wrong with doubt, if that doubt is driven by a desire to become certain and the pursuit of certainty.

 

So a week later, John tells us, the disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Just like the last time. Sensing Thomas’ doubt, Jesus does not ostracize him, he allows him to pursue the answers. “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” In that moment, everyone not just Thomas, got their confirmation, all doubts, no matter how small, spoken and unspoken were dissipated. In that moment they knew for sure, that Jesus lives. 

 

We were not there, when this confirmation was obtained and so for our sake, Jesus makes this comment in verse 29b “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe”.  

And John in verse 30 assures us that what we are told though not everything, as Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah,[c] the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

We did not get a chance to see and put our fingers into the scars and out our hands in his side, but we have faith in the authenticity of Thomas’ response in verse 28“My Lord and my God!” That experience moved Thomas and TRANFORMED THEM FROM DOUBT TO FAITH

BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT HE LIVES, IT TRANSFORMED THEM FROM COWARDICE TO CONFIDENCE

You remember that guy by the name of Peter, the one who around the table of the Passover, declared that he would never deny Jesus, that he would stick with him no matter what, even until death, it’s the same Peter who when he saw Jesus walking on the water during a storm, he asked Jesus to let him come to him walking on the water and he was doing very well walking on the water when he was overwhelmed by cowardice and started to sink?

 

Well knowing Jesus lives has had so much of an influence on Peter that he developed BOLDNESS an intense CONFIDENCE. So that when the Sanhedrin call them to challenged and intimidate them into so they would stop spreading the word, that Jesus lives, the other apostles, especially Peter tells them, it’s not gonna happen:

“We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

 

BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT HE LIVES, IT TRANSFORMED THEM FROM AGGRESSIVE TO ARTICULATE

 

The world today, the communities in which we live, the people who we love who do not know Jesus, who do not appreciate what Jesus has done for them as we remember at Easter, needs to hear that He lives and because he lives there is a new life available to them.

 

The problem is that they are so accustomed to having people force this news onto them, they are so used to people in their exuberance to share the gospel coming across as aggressive.

 

To defend ones faith is not about being aggressive, it is not like a bull fight, or a boxing match, it is not adversarial or competitive in nature.  To defend ones faith, it to articulate ones faith with confidence and in a way that helps persons to understand what we believe and how it has changed our lives.

 

Jesus defended his faith…not aggressively, but articulately, seeking to convey his points with stories and language that everyone could understand. Peter, who cut off the assistant priest’s ear defending Jesus, took some time to see that aggression was not the way.

 

How are you at sharing your faith? Have you been apprehensive? Scared? Fearful? or do you have doubts? Whatever your state, I would like for you to know that like Peter and the others, it is possible to move from cowardice to confidence.

 

Like Peter it is possible to move from seeking to defend your faith in an aggressive way, to doing so articulately.

 

Like Thomas, it is possible for you to get the exposure you need to share the good news that Jesus lives and move from doubt to faith.

 

How?  You must first BELIEVE, believe that Jesus lives and that in His living, in him raising from the dead…it makes a difference in your life and mine. Try this when you get home…On a sheet of paper and write BECAUSE HE LIVES at the top. Then write down 10 things that you can now do or you have been able to do. When you are finished say a prayer of thanksgiving for those ten things.

 

If you can’t write your questions and your doubts on that piece of paper put it in an envelope and drop in the offering plate next week.

  • Because He lives, there is so much that we are able to do and to be.
  • Because He lives, we can be transformed from doubt to faith, from cowardice to confidence from aggressive to articulate.
  • Because He lives, we can be bold.

 

Lord, I Believe In You by Crystal Lewis

1.Though I can't see Your holy face, and Your throne in Heaven above it seems so far away

Though I can't touch, Your nail scarred hands, I have a deep and unspeakable joy that makes my faith to stand

CHORUS: Lord, I believe in You, I'll always believe in You. Though I can't see You with my eyes deep in my heart, Your presence I find

Lord, I believe in You, and I'll keep my trust in You, let the whole world say what they may. No one can take this joy away, Lord, I believe

2. Born from above, You are Gods only chosen one
You're the one and only true way, to the Fathers heart

You died for all sin then You rose and now live again
Conquering death and the grave so that I might live

 

AMEN