Here’s a personal question to wrestle with: Can your faith be bigger than your current circumstances? If I’m totally honest with you, I tend to struggle pretty hard in this area.
Whether it is financial, relational, physical, etc., I have a tendency of letting circumstances control my faith. This is clearly not what Jesus intended for me.
As I think back about the teachings of Jesus, there were many instances where He and the disciples were in some rather peculiar situations that required faith. Take for example, the storm on the sea while Jesus is sleeping. After panicking out of fear for their lives, the disciples decide to wake Jesus up. He proceeds to tell the disciples to settle down and then tells the storm to do the same.
When Jesus gets word of Lazarus’ death and shows up late, he is lectured about his punctuality and is informed that He’s too late. However, He simply strolls in and comes back out with Lazarus in the flesh!
And the most stressful event of all: Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. How could this be the most stressful, you may ask? Ever watched the show “Bridezilla”?
Sadly enough, in each of these instances, I find myself relating rather well with the stressed out/doubters of the group. And the Resurrection story is no different!
As I read today’s scripture, I tend to notice how all of Jesus’ friends and family were all paralyzed by what had taken place. But let's be clear, Jesus had on more than one occasion informed His closest circle of the events that would take place. However, due to the extreme and gruesome circumstances, their faith in those teachings were all but forgotten. The circumstances had control of their faith!
In fact, Thomas had to have physical proof before he could even begin to see the truth. Would I be much different? I don’t think so.
The resurrection story takes faith because it defies what we know. The circumstances leading to Jesus’ death are so daunting, yet they are only a portion of the story. They do not define the story. Jesus’ victory over death sets Him apart. And even Jesus understands that it requires faith to understand His teachings; He emphasizes that the rewards of such faith are eternal. Jesus says, “Blessed’ and ‘happy’ and ‘to be envied’ are those who have never seen Me and yet have ‘believed’ and ‘adhered to’ and ‘trusted’ and ‘relied on Me’.”
Prayer: Father, forgive me for the moments I have allowed circumstances and situations to control my faith. Remind me of your faithfulness and goodness during the good times and the bad times. I praise you for your resurrection and your power. I love you Jesus, amen.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”