Doubting Thomas seemed very skeptical when the other disciples said they’d seen Jesus. We live in a world full of skeptics. Maybe you’re one of them. What makes you skeptical of Jesus? Do you need evidence? Do Christians seem like hypocrites? Does the idea of Jesus seem unbelievable? Those are valid reasons to be skeptical. However, I don’t think that’s why Thomas was skeptical. I don’t think Thomas doubted the resurrection. I think Thomas doubted that Jesus loved him and still wanted him as a disciple. Thomas didn’t need evidence of Jesus – He needed Jesus to show up.
If you’re looking for evidence, waiting for Christians to be better people, or if you’re trying to make sense of the resurrection then know you’re not alone. Everyone thinks about these things. However, if you are wondering if God loves you and if the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was for you – Then know this: God loves you! Jesus lived, died, and rose for you! Nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
People were bringing children to Jesus, but the disciples turned them away. Jesus put the disciples in their place and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” I think we learn three truths from this event.
Bring – Bring your children to Jesus. We bring our kids to doctors, dentists, and teachers because of what they bring to our children. We bring our kids to Jesus because He brings salvation.
Be Brought – If you’re like me you’re feeling some guilt because sometimes like the disciples you lead your children away from Jesus. Here’s the Gospel – Jesus comes to you, forgives your sin, and brings you back into relationship with the Father, so Be Brought!
Be Blessed – Jesus blesses! That’s just what He does. He does not promise to bless you with money, fame, and power. He does promise mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Bring – Be Brought – Be Blessed! Jesus brings salvation. Jesus has brought you from death to life. You are blessed in and through Jesus!
Elisha prays that his servant’s eyes are “opened.” A moment later Elisha prays that the eyes of the enemy soldiers are closed. Later, he prays again for the soldiers’ eyes to be open. Each time eyes were opened or closed; it was for the good of the people involved. God opens and closes eyes for our good.
God in His mercy does not show us everything. Yes, there are times we wish we knew more, but God loves us enough to show us only what we need. Much like a parent does not tell their 6-year-old child everything about life (for their good). What God does show us are the things we need to see. We see His power and majesty in creation, his love of life in the faces of people, the consequences of our sin, and best of all Jesus! God opens our eyes to see our Savior the crucified and risen Jesus! Someday we will see it all, but for now we get to see what we need – A Savior!
Our summer sermon series continued this week with Jonah. Have you ever noticed what a jerk Jonah was? He didn’t obey God and proclaim the Word to the people of Nineveh for two terrible reasons. First, he didn’t like the people of Nineveh because they were evil. Second, he knew God was rich in mercy and abounding in love (In other words Jonah knew that if they repented God might actually spare them). Therefore, Jonah ran away from God.
You know how the story goes. Jonah gets tossed overboard, is swallowed up by a fish, and is sent once again to Nineveh. As Jonah suspected the people repent and God forgives. Most people would consider this a good ending, but not Jonah. Jonah continues to complain and has a bitter heart. Two things to take from this portion of Scripture. First, God’s Word is powerful and changes hearts – So get out there and share it. Second, if God can use a jerk like Jonah – Then he can for sure use dirty rotten sinners like you and me.
The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus is one of my favorite events in the Scriptures, and it’s not just because Zacchaeus was short like me. Instead, it’s because Zacchaeus was a sinner – just like me. This event answers the question, “Who gets Jesus?” in a powerful way. Sinners get Jesus. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came to save only one kind/group of people – The Sinful Kind! That’s a group that every person in the world fits into. That means everyone gets Jesus!
Zacchaeus responded to the call of Jesus. He welcomed Jesus into his home and his life. There was repentance, faith, and salvation. If you are stuck in a life of brokenness and sin today, then know this: Jesus is for you! Who gets Jesus? You get Jesus! He brings life, forgiveness, strength and joy!
Our summer sermon series continued with the account of Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus that, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:14-15
What kind of Jesus are we lifting up to the world? Sometimes God’s people lift up a Jesus that looks and sounds like a coach, a boss, or a school principal. Other times we lift up a Jesus that looks and sounds like a successful suburbanite. Sometimes we lift up Jesus as a genie in a bottle who grants your every wish.
Instead, why don’t we lift up the real Jesus: The One who was lifted up on the cross and then up out of the grave by His Father. Let’s lift up a crucified and risen Jesus to the world. That’s the Jesus that changes lives. Here’s the Good News – God does all the heavy lifting. The Son of Man MUST be lifted up. Thanks be to God He was!