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Church Message
Have doubts? The Risen Savior Takes Them Away.
By Pastor Stuppy

Church sponsors2 24apr14Church message imageLast year a religious poll was taken by the Pews organization. They asked people the question of church goers – "Do you believe God exists?” Almost everyone said yes. We might expect that. But then they asked, "Are you absolutely sure, fairly certain, not too certain, or not certain at all?” Mormons and those who belonged to other conservative groups rated high – about nine out of ten. Others not so good. Reformed Jews and atheists were at the bottom. We would expect that too. What was surprising to me was seven percent of atheist said they were unsure about the existence of God. Now that surprised me. The point of the survey was that even those who profess belief in God may have doubts.

On the first Easter Eve we find a disciple who had such doubts. In fact, all of Jesus’ disciples did at first. Then Jesus appeared to them as they hid behind locked doors. He said, "Peace be with you.” He then showed them the wounds in his hands and feet. Thomas wasn’t there. When he returned, they told him what had happened but Thomas did not believe. That’s how he earned the name "Doubting Thomas.” He said, "Unless I put my fingers into the nail prints of his hand and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20:25).

When it comes to matters of faith, revealed to us in God’s Word, don’t we all have doubts from time to time. Maybe we struggle with God’s declaration that he created the world in six days. Maybe the worldwide flood described in Genesis challenges our faith so we look for other explanations. How did Jesus feed 5,000 people with a few pieces of bread and a couple fish.

Other statements of God can be just as challenging. God says that he uses "all things for our good.” (Romans 8:28). What good can come from an even like that of 9-11? What good can come from a promising athlete becoming paralyzed in his or her twenties? What good can come from the birth of a stillborn baby?

When things like this happen, they test our faith. Doubts arise in our heart. We ask questions like – "How can a loving God let such terrible things happen?” "What possible good could come from the death of my only child?” "Why doesn’t God answer my prayers? Is he even listening?” Doubts and fears arise and the devil does his best to fan the flames.

Jesus took Thomas’ doubts away. The next Sunday, Jesus appeared to the disciples again. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus again said, "Peace be with you.” Then we spoke to Thomas to give him that peace. He asked Thomas to put his finger into the nail prints of his hands and put his hand into the wound in his side. Jesus then said, "Stop doubting and believe.” This was no dream! Jesus was not some imposter. The wounds were testimonies to the truth that Jesus had risen from the grave and his work of salvation complete.

Seeing the resurrected Savior, seeing the wound left by the crucifixion took away Thomas’ doubts. He quickly confessed, "My Lord, and my God.” When doubts assail us, we need Jesus too. We need to go to his Word for there he comes to us. Through that Word, the Holy Spirit confirms our faith, takes away our doubts and fears. The end result is found in Jesus’ own words and promise as he spoke to Thomas.

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (Jn 20:29)


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