Watching a good magician perform an illusion can be mind boggling. You see things that your brain has no explanation for, and yet there they are! That’s when you have to remind yourself that it’s all deception and illusion.
Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert,” where today we’re going to explore the connection between seeing and believing — thanks for popping in today to sip a beverage with a Bishop. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
We’ve all likely seen an amazing card trick or sleight of hand. My own working repertoire contains a pretty convincing disappearing coin illusion, a card trick that requires no set up to perform and the ability to pull the top of my index finger off. World-class magicians like David Copperfield or Penn & Teller fool pretty much everyone. Only the card trick works with adults, the finger and the coin tricks only amaze a less sophisticated, younger clientele. If you have an interest in how magic is done and access to YouTube, you can see how plenty of amazing illusions are actually performed. Spoiler alert – it’s always what you don’t see that get you!
Quite obviously, you simply cannot believe everything you see.
Today’s verse says BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND HAVE BELIEVED.
When Jesus spoke those words to His disciple Thomas, he was responding to Thomas’ expression of faith after he had seen the resurrected Jesus face-to-face. A week earlier, on the day that Jesus had risen from the dead, the majority of His disciples were together in a room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and confirmed to them that He had in fact conquered the grave. But Thomas had been with them that night. So when the other disciples told him they had seen the Lord – alive and risen – he was unconvinced. He told them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, His disciples were once again inside the same room, the doors were still locked, and this time Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them again! After greeting them, Jesus turned to Thomas and said, “Put your finger here and touch My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” Instantly Thomas knew that only one person was capable of knowing his thoughts and the words he had spoken a week ago. Only one person could raise Himself from the dead. Only one person could walk through the walls of a locked room and still have the physical capacity to be touched and handled. Only God Himself was capable of that! So Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED”
You see, it’s all about placing our faith in Jesus. Believing in the One that we have not yet seen. Deciding to believe the promises He makes when He offers to exchange your sin for His righteousness and your guilt for His grace. It’s not a magic trick that makes the eternal penalty for sin disappear, it’s two acts of absolute love. The first act of love took place in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago when Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sin and then rose again to prove His victory over death. The second act of love occurs when we accept His offer of forgiveness and choose to follow Him.
The interesting twist is that when we choose to believe in Him even though we have not seen Him, that’s when we will begin to see Him move in our lives. He changes our heart, sets us free from things that controlled us, and places His Spirit within us. We begin to see Jesus working in us as we yield to Him and His word. We see Jesus working in others as we pray. We see Him clearly enough to follow Him, and we see Him moving in the lives of those around us. It’s when we choose to believe even though we have not yet seen Him that we get the blessing of truly seeing Him. With faith – believing is seeing.
So what’s the lesson we can learn from our opening illustration of magicians. Well it is simply this: Believing everything you see is a mistake.
But a far greater one is having to see everything you believe. Because with faith – believing is seeing.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND HAVE BELIEVED