in John's Gospel -- Part 24
The Religion of
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
allow the title of this brief article to scare you away.
We are not about to delve into the depths of
theology to discover the religion that the disciple
Thomas held. His view was by todayís standards very up
to date. It is the reasoning espoused by most who
consider themselves objective and enlightened. It
is the conviction that abounds in our society and that
is quoted in every quarter. His theology briefly
stated was: "Except I see, I will not
Christianity as expounded by Paul and echoed by many
such as Luther is summarized in Rom. 1:17 " The
just shall live by faith", Thomasí theology and
the Bibleís are on a collision course. Now please do
not misunderstand. The Bible does not speak of
"blind" faith. It demands neither the
leap in the dark of the existentialist nor the
groundless hope of the mystic. It provides a solid basis
upon which faith is built.
chapter before us from which the incident concerning
Thomas is drawn. In John 20, the Lord has risen from the
tomb. Prior to this the Lord Jesus had on at least four
distinct occasions clearly told His disciples of His
approaching death and resurrection. His every word had
proved reliable and trustworthy. This particular
Sunday morning found Peter and John peering into an
empty tomb. John, examining carefully all the evidence
quickly came to the conclusion that the Lord had been
raised from the dead. Later that day the Lord
Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene; later still to the
disciples in the upper room.
Thomas had been
absent from it all. When he returned he was confronted
by the evidence of a vacant tomb, the eyewitness
accounts and testimonies of those he knew and trusted,
and by the Word of his Lord Who had never proved
unfaithful to His word. It was in light of all this that
Thomas exclaimed, "Except I see...".
fashionable today to deny spiritual realities. We have
become accustomed to "hard" facts and
"experiential" truth. It is readily owned that
there is a danger involved in accepting personal
testimonies. There are a myriad of voices clamoring for
our attention and allegiance; voices that are as
contrary to each other as possible. They come across the
radio, the news media, at our doorsteps, and through the
mail. The personal testimony of the disciples would have
meant little had it been consistent with the promise of
the Lord Jesus.
sophistication and education, all will admit that we
move and function each day with confidence in things
that we do not see.
God in His
word has told us of sin and its consequences; of heaven
and hell and manís destiny; of the blood of Christ and
His satisfaction; of the assurance of eternal life
through faith in His Son. But someone replies that God
is demanding that we believe all this without seeing it.
God is not however asking us to believe all this without
giving us proof of His veracity. The resurrection of
Christ is the grand apologetic that confirms the
remainder of scripture.
Jesus confronted Thomas a week later and proclaimed
"Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have
believed". When Thomas realized the folly of his
religion he quickly abandoned it and proclaimed,
"My Lord and My God." When Thomas saw the
evidence of the wounds which he requested to see he
owned his error and submitted unreservedly to Christ,
owning His deity and Lordship.
Each of our
lives begins by nature in unbelief. The Word of God
reveals to us our place as sinners, pointing us away
from ourselves to the sacrificial death of Christ upon
Calvary as the ransom for our sins. All who submit to
Him, owning him as Lord and Savior are among those upon
whom He pronounced His blessing.
year draws to completion and the eternal realities that
are unseen to sight loom closer, it is our desire that
you would search the Scriptures and examine these truths