Believing Is Seeing

GodSpeak for the Week of April 29

We’re back to the Lectionary, following our Lenten series.  This week finds us with the familiar after-Easter story of “Doubting Thomas,” along with a most important lesson about our Christian faith and life.

Day 1…Read Acts 5:12-20

  • Consider this – Luke offers two interesting insights into the early days of the Christian Church: a) in v. 13, we learn that “no one else dared to join” those who believed in Jesus; and, b) in v. 15, folks would bring the sick and ailing into the streets so that just the shadow of Peter could fall of them and heal them.
  • Answer this – what do these curious details tell us…what kind of important insight do we gain, by having Luke share these details?

Day 2…Read Acts 5:12-20 (again), but also read Acts 5:21-28 as well

  • Consider this – there’s an old saying: “The more things change the more things stay the same.” 
  • Answer this – think of every instance in this passage of how the behavior of the religious authorities mirrors what they did to Jesus just a short time before!
    • Why haven’t the religious authorities learned?
    • What are they afraid of, that they’re acting in these ways?

Day 3…Read Revelation 1:4-9

  • Consider this – for his faithfulness to Jesus, John has been exiled to the island of Patmos.
  • Answer this – given that John has been forcibly removed from everyone he knows, what do these words say about his state of mind and how he views his situation?
    • Specifically, why can he feel this way?

Day 4…Read Revelation 1:9-18

  • Consider this – in v. 12, John appears to be startled by a voice speaking from behind him.  He turns and describes the One he sees in vivid detail.
  • Answer this – based on what John reports, do you think he recognized Jesus right away?
    • Like it was for Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday, was this a case where it took a moment or two for John to fully recognize who was speaking to him?
    • Did John’s faith have any bearing on his being able to see who was standing before him?

Day 5…Read John 20:29-30

  • Consider this – we begin this part of this week’s devotions at the end of this reading versus the beginning.
    • Jesus says: “…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (v. 29)
  • Answer this – why is this so important to Jesus?  Why is believing BEFORE (and sometimes in lieu of) seeing so important to Him?
    • What does belief do, that mere seeing cannot? (Hint – think again about what happened to Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday)
  • Consider this – and read what Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9.
  • Answer this – where does our ability to believe come from in the first place?
    • So, what does that mean for our belief and our seeing of His work in the world?

Day 6…Read John 20:19-28

  • Consider this – we often give Thomas a hard time about his need to see Jesus before he would believe that Christ was alive.
  • Answer this – what does Christ do for the rest of the disciples, though, in v. 20?  (Seems kind of harsh how we’ve historically treated Thomas, doesn’t it?)
  • Answer this – if Christ values belief before seeing (and, He does), then why does He afford the disciples this gift of being able to see Him, before they lock into faith in His having risen from the dead?