In the post The Cornerstone: Broken into Pieces or Crushed, the issue of people believing Jesus was the Christ or Messiah was addressed. Jesus Himself quoted prophecy () about Himself in efforts to help people believe. Peter too used that scripture to show how what people believed about Jesus would determine their eternal estate. 1 Peter 2:7 “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
This same phenomena occurred after The Resurrection as Jesus interacted with Thomas. Jesus calls for all to “Stop Doubting and Believe”. Read with me John 20
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Thomas did not believe because he did not see. The truth is that attribute of Thomas is in us all. It is true that some people’s faith is stronger/bigger than others, but God gave those that faith. We are all in the same boat in terms of needing evidence before we will commit to believe in Jesus.
Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus as a sign that He truly came from God and was God who can deliver on the promises He made about everlasting life. Before Jesus died, He, as always, perfectly prepared His disciples. If you recall, Jesus defined eternal life for them in John 17:3: “3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Eternal life is not solely about going to heaven. It is preeminently about knowing God and Jesus Christ whom God sent.
This is the essence of Easter. It certainly has nothing to do with bunny rabbits, eggs or new clothes. For the true believer, Easter has everything to do with a new life in Christ. We celebrate that new resurrected life everyday as we demonstrate faith in Christ who suffered a beating and crucifixion for that new life. The beating and crucifixion represent the punishment we deserve for our sin. The spilling of His blood symbolizes the cleansing we receive of our sins from Christ.
Today, Christ offers a new life for him who believes. For him who believes, Jesus offered this prayer to God. John 17 – “15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.“
In John 14:11, Jesus said, “11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” Easter, the recognition of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and ascension to the Father is the evidence that we must believe. “Stop Doubting and Believe”