Life Notes—April 8, 2010
“But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25b
My daughter, Grace, was born suspicious about Santa Claus. The whole ‘coming down the chimney’ story, and traveling-around-the-world-in-one-night bit, and always knowing who had been bad or good fueled her skepticism. Seeing a variety of similarly-dressed, but different looking Santa’s at department stores and on television created questions in her mind. Sit on the lap of one of those sometimes-creepy Santa imposters? Not a chance. She would write out her wish list and mail it to him, thank you very much!
In spite of her skepticism, she really wanted to believe. Or perhaps she was just afraid not to believe. What would happen if you called Santa’s bluff, only to find Santa Claus was real? Was it worth the risk of no presents? As a father committed to never (outright) lying to his daughter, I would field her questions carefully, never directly confirming or denying the reality of Santa. It became a cat-and-mouse game between us—Grace trying to corner me with a question that could only be answered honestly with a confirmation or rejection, and me doing my best politician-in-training act to wiggle out of a direct answer.
In the passage quoted above, Thomas is skeptical about the return of Jesus from the dead. Jesus had appeared to others, but Thomas refused to believe until he could touch the wounds. Grace would stay up as late as her young eyes allowed, hoping for a glimpse of the mysterious, bearded fat man. Her only evidence of his appearance would be the cookie crumbs on the plate and the presents under the tree. It wasn’t proof-positive, but the gifts helped make the point moot. For Thomas, Jesus appeared and allowed him to touch the wounds so he could believe. Santa teaches that those who are good, receive. The resurrection teaches that those who believe, live!
Many of us are skeptical; just like Grace about Santa, just like Thomas about the resurrected Christ. We want proof positive before we will suspend our unbelief. But sometimes those proofs can only be seen through our faith in things unseen. If our vision is not guided by faith, we can easily miss the proof we seek. We really want to believe, but it seems too good to be true. Most of us today must believe before we see.
Tom begins a new series this Sunday, “Simply Christian: Believing and Witnessing.” It will be based on the scripture John 20:19-31. Life Worship is at 10:45 in Brady Hall. Traditional services in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Open the eyes of your heart, and believe!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator