Have you ever watched a magician perform a magic trick? The good ones will cause your eyes to deceive you. Don’t approach faith like a magic trick.
I won’t be performing any magic tricks this morning, just welcoming you to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” and saying that I’m grateful that you’re here.
The world-renowned magicians Penn & Teller host a television program called “Fool Us” where magicians young and old come from all over the world to try and fool them. Most don’t, but some do. It’s fun to watch some of the top magicians in the world say, “Well, You fooled us!” and then step up to the stage and award the person a trophy. Sometimes I’ll watch a trick over and over, to see if I can figure out how the person did it.
Today’s verse is a question that Jesus asked His disciples. WHY ARE YOU TROUBLED? AND WHY DO DOUBTS ARISE IN YOUR HEARTS?
Let me set the stage so you understand the reason behind the question. This was the day that Jesus resurrected from the dead, so it had been a tough couple of days for His disciples. They had seen Jesus arrested. They had fled and abandoned Him. One of them had watched His crucifixion, and had watched Him die. They’d spent the next two days hiding behind locked doors wondering if they were next.
Earlier that day some of the women who were among their number came and told them something about angels appearing to them when they went to the tomb, Jesus’s body being gone, and the angels saying He had risen from the dead. But their words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women.
Then it happened. That very evening, while the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. He didn’t knock on the door or climb in a window. He apparently just walked through the wall — and totally freaked them out. They were startled and frightened, thinking they had seen a spirit. They couldn’t believe their eyes, but Jesus was standing there in the flesh. And that’s when He asked them WHY ARE YOU TROUBLED? AND WHY DO DOUBTS ARISE IN YOUR HEARTS?
You may be thinking, “OF COURSE they are troubled!!!! Jesus had been brutally murdered before their very eyes. It was no magic trick or staged illusion. The disciples didn’t smile and say, “Well, you fooled us” and give Jesus a trophy. Jesus had been REALLY dead. They KNEW Jesus had been really dead, and they thought they were next. Then He walks through the wall and changes their world.
Troubled hearts and disbelief give way to joy and amazement. Then, in the ultimate I-told-you-so, Jesus said to them, “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and they understood it all.
They understood that Jesus was the fulfilment of the promises, the sacrifice that fulfilled every sacrificial requirement, the means of total and absolute forgiveness. They understood that He had paid the debt they owed for their sin. They understood His divinity. They understood their call. Their doubts gave way to faith. Troubled hearts were filled with joy. Wonder was replaced with worship.
Did you know that Jesus is still walking through walls?
You and I build walls around our hearts. Life is hard, and often it hurts. Bad. And so we hide in our own little rooms with the doors locked for fear that someone may find us and hurt us some more.
Then one day Jesus walks in – unannounced – and offers you peace. Peace with your past, certainly. Peace in the midst of today’s battles. And peace as you and He face your future, and even eternity. He doesn’t make all the battles go away, and He doesn’t promise there will be no more pain ever. He simply promises that you’ll never, ever have to face them alone.
The question you and I have to answer is the same one He asked His disciples WHY ARE YOU TROUBLED? AND WHY DO DOUBTS ARISE IN YOUR HEARTS?
We’re troubled for the same reason they were. Jesus was standing in front of them with the offer of a lifetime, and they couldn’t believe their eyes. It was too amazing, almost too good to be true. But His resurrection was real, and so was His offer of forgiveness, life, joy and peace. His resurrection was real. His resurrection changed everything. It still does.
This morning He’s walking through the walls of your heart and making the same offer to you. Forgiveness. Faith. Freedom.
The disciples surrendered their doubts and received all He had offered.