Beyond a Reasonable Doubt | Part 4: Chain of Evidence
May 5, 2021
May 5, 2021
Last time, we saw that the immediate result of the remedy for Thomas is a genuine faith in a genuine Jesus. Thomas’ doubt is cast aside … his religious disappointment is replaced by a personal relationship with Jesus, his Lord and his God.
But there is a greater result of this remedy that John the Evangelist wants us to see.
Look at the next verses in John 20:29-31.
29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Verse 29 is easy to misunderstand. Some people read Jesus and think that faith not based in signs is a superior faith. It is as if Jesus were saying, “Well, all right, Thomas, now that you’ve seen me, you have believed. Fair enough. But you must understand that those who believe in me – even though they never have enjoyed the signs given to you – will have a superior faith. Those are the ones who will truly be blessed. You missed out on that Thomas, because you insisted on seeing before believing. Your faith is, essentially, a second-class faith.”
How absolutely ridiculous. As we have seen, Jesus’ appearance to Thomas is the specific remedy for Thomas’ kind of doubt. Why, then, would Jesus choose this very moment to also lecture Thomas on how his now restored faith is average at best?
We can get at the true meaning of Jesus’ statement here when we ignore the divisions put into our Bibles by the publisher (because they are not there in the Greek) and read all of the verses together.
29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John immediately goes on to say that Jesus did many miraculous signs, and of course they could not all be written down for us. But these are written … the ones in John’s Gospel – including the appearance to Thomas – in order that later generations who will never see the signs, who will not in this life see the resurrected body of Jesus, might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing they might have life through his name.
The means by which we believers of later generations have access to the historical witnesses of the resurrected Jesus is through the written records the first generation left behind. Thus, Thomas becomes part of this chain of evidence. He saw and believed, and by his witness – his confession – he STILL speaks … and God uses this to generate faith in countless later generations who come to share his faith because of his witness to the truth.
In shorter words, the ultimate result of this remedy is not just Thomas’ genuine belief, but OURS.
Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.