Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Focus on Faith

By "Meeting the Risen Christ"
April 5, 2016 at 3:10 p.m.

Christ was killed and the disciples are afraid. Their personal fear overrides their grieving for the loss of their Teacher. For they could be next. What Christ had done, they had done too. They were guilty by association. They could be crucified just as easily as Christ. So they remained hidden behind closed doors. Christ has risen in John 20:19-31. Christ visited with his disciples behind closed doors. His greeting was "peace." His marks were nail prints and a wounded side. His gift was the Holy Spirit. Thomas, absent when Christ first appeared, would not believe until he could place his finger in the mark of the nails and place his hand in Jesus' side. Eight days later, the risen Christ appeared again, and Thomas believed. Believing in Jesus is affirming and accepting him as Lord and Savior. Believing in Christ enables confident living and ensures eternal life.

Faith in Christ offers confident living. People who try to live in the world without Christ as Lord and Savior bring to mind two friends talking at a party. One says, "I don't know who I am, what I'm doing, or where I'm going." The other expressionlessly mumbles back, "Don't worry about it. Most Americans are going through the same thing."

Without identity, purpose, and destiny, people live on the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual edge. Biblical Christianity has always shared the goodness of living triumphantly amid the madness, misery, and meanness of life in the world by discovering and experiencing identity, purpose, and destiny through belief in Christ as Lord and Savior. Believing in Christ has always been declared as the way to life, wholeness, happiness, joy, and security.

While Christians are not immune to the problems of this world, they overcome them by reading the Bible. The ultimate victory of eternal life enables Christians to put common problems in perspective.

Faith in Christ offers eternal life. Biblical Christianity emphasizes belief in Christ as guaranteeing the greatest desire of humankind, eternal life, as revealed in John 3:16. This expectation is at the core of every believer's faith. It enabled David A. Redding to write, "Anyone who feels sorry for a dead Christian, as though the poor chap were missing something is himself missing the transfiguring promotion involved".

Thomas had the faith, but he wanted to be sure. When Christ confronted Thomas and offered for him to touch his nail scared hands and side, Thomas believed. Christ asserts that the ideal faith response is to believe without having to see. But for some of us, the road to belief runs is like Thomas' desire to see for ourselves before totally committing to our faith.



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