June 1 - Seeing and Believing
Many link experience and faith together. For anyone to believe, there must be a personal subjective experience through the senses, either hearing or seeing. Seeing and believing are often paired together. In the resurrection narrative of the Gospel of John, we can see the relationship between seeing and believing in three different occasions: first, the apostle John saw and believed, although he did not understand. Then Thomas saw and touched Jesus and he believed. After that, Jesus explained faith apart from seeing.
Peter and John went to the empty tomb together, John outran Peter but did not get into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there as he stooped and looked in before he entered after Peter. Both saw the linen cloth folded up in a place by itself, but it was John who started believing in the resurrection even though he did not understand the Scriptural prophecy about the resurrection. He believed even with incomplete knowledge but what he saw confirmed his belief. Peter, on the other hand, would still have doubts about the whole thing.
Later, Jesus appeared to the disciples on the evening of the first day of the week and many believed in His resurrection. However, Thomas was not there but he did not believe in the testimony of the other disciples. He said, “Unless I see …. and touch, I will never believe.” He refused to take the experience of others and wanted to have his own experience in order to believe. The Lord was gracious to him and appeared to him, allowing him to actually see and touch Him. His advice to Thomas was, “Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Then Jesus pointed to the highest form of faith in Him, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The most blessed faith is to trust the Lord even without seeing and without full knowledge. Faith is believing God despite of not seeing the evidence and despite of the lack of knowledge. It is to trust in the Almighty, calling Him, “My Lord and my God!” even when there is no tangible proof. To have full knowledge and to be able to see before one makes a decision to believe is not the desired path of common faith. Although most would arrived at faith through knowledge and experience, the one who believes in God because of who God is would be the most blessed.
Knowledge and experience are sometimes stumbling blocks for many of us trust more in them than in God Himself. If God is our Lord and God, what more proof do we need? If He is the Creator and we are the creatures, what more knowledge or signs should we seek? Trust in Him now and confess your unbelief.
Ps 124:6-8 2 Sam 18:1-19:10 John 20:1-31 Prov 16:14-15