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“And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
Our faith is rooted in history. Jesus really did die and really did rise again from the dead. This is a most amazing truth that can thrill our hearts. When some of the disciples were told that Jesus had risen from the dead, they didn’t believe it. They had doubts. They knew Jesus, ate with Him, saw miracles, even saw Lazarus raised from the dead. They saw His compassion. Witnesses had told them all that had happened. Now, having heard, they see the Lord Jesus Christ in their presence, face to face. But some doubted. Is that you? Sometimes, we don’t face the issues of doubt. All of us have had doubts at times. For example, when facing tough times we doubt whether God is in this. When we face illness we can ask why, and doubt God’s presence. We can doubt whether Jesus is really with us. Doubts can sometimes point to past failures and cause us to question whether God had really forgiven us.
The disciples see Jesus risen from the dead. The greatest day in history! Yet they doubted. It is wonderful to know God understands our doubts.
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6). Doubt is not being settled or confident. They are significant. James himself refers to himself as being double-minded.
Doubts can mess around with your heart as well. Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.” (Mark 11:23). Where do you doubt? In your heart. It is not just a head thing. Doubts can mess up your head, doubts can mess up your heart, and God understands.
Jesus says here in Luke 24, ‘Why do doubts arise in your heart?’ The word for doubt used there is not the same in the Greek language as it is being used in other references we have had. The doubts that Jesus refers to there are arguments and disputes. So doubting isn’t just with your head or your heart, but it is disputing – ‘Is this really true? We know He’s dead, now He’s alive. This can’t be true?’
Another example is found in Matthew 14:31. Peter is seeking to walk on water. The waves are up and down and he can’t see Jesus and he doubted. Wonderfully, Jesus rescued him. If you have doubts, they are not terminal. Not only does the Lord Jesus understand your doubts, He is also gentle with those who have doubts.
Remember the story of the desperate father whose son had been ill since being a child? He brings is son to the disciples and they couldn’t heal him. Then Jesus meets with the desperate father and the son. The father says, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out[d] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22b-24). This father wasn’t unbelieving, he was doubting. The father wasn’t unbelieving because Jesus heals his son.
Thomas is known as ‘Thomas the Doubter.’ This is unfair. Really, he should be called ‘Thomas the Honest.’ At least he is admitting his problem. Jesus allows Thomas to see His wounds. He gives the evidence he needs. Thomas says these amazing words, ‘My Lord, my God.’ The Lord Jesus deals gently with those who doubt.
John the Baptist, when in prison, hears about the Lord Jesus and everything He is doing. John knew Jesus, he knew him face to face. He had baptised him. So, here is a person who had all the evidence. In theory you would say to yourself, ‘Well, surely he would never doubt.’ Listen to what happens, “Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:2-6) John is facing a huge gale. Jesus does not berate or judge him. He quotes scripture and deals gently with him.
On this wonderful Easter morning we too can have doubts. Whatr do we do? Be honest and tell Him our doubts and our fears. We need to lsilten to Him. God wants you to be sure, not to doubt in any ways. So, when you go to scripture, there is no doubt.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). He doesn’t want you to have the slightest doubts.
God abundantly pardon, so there is nothing between heaven and ourselves,
“Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Jesus wants you to be sure and says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).
You need to read the Bible for yourselves. I encourage you to read the Bible, to listen to God. He wants to help you gently with every doubt you might have. He also wants us to remember how good God has been to us (Psalm 103). It may be helpful to keep a journal, to keep a record of God’s goodness and answered prayers.
Listen, read and remember, then look to the wonderful things He has done. He gave us His precious Son, who walked this Earth. He spoke like no-one else spoke. His wisdom, His purity, His total integrity was hammered by religious leaders. He spoke with the down-trodden, the rejects of society. He lived without any of our failures, without any of our selfishness – no nasty comments, no unforgiveness – simply kindness and love to the poor, needy, forgotten and down-trodden. He lived the perfect life. Then, He lived and died the perfect death. He rose from the dead, as we are celebrating today. He shows us His wonderful, wonderful love, He tells us; you can read it and listen to Him.
Be confident He can help us. Whatever doubts you have, He is always there, risen from the dead, alive today. Martin Luther, the great reformer, had a prayer for anyone who has doubts,
Although I am sure of my position, I am unable to sustain it without thee. Help me or I am lost.”
Jesus Christ is risen. He is alive! We can thank Him. We can worship Him. We can know Him helping and dealing with our doubts. We need to take those doubts to God and ask Him to help us to deal with them – and He will because He is alive, He is risen from the dead. He loves you with an everlasting love. He calls you to Himself, to trust Him, to lean upon Him, to know His forgiveness.