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Back in the 1880's Nietzsche declared that "God is dead," and before
the turn of the Twentieth Century, Shaw and Wells chimed in saying the
20th Century would mark the end of the world's "religious phase."
Yet, today a church now meets in Russia's Museum of Religion and Atheism-the
former center of atheism. Nearly half of the United States' population
attend Worship on a regular basis while revival is sweeping through Latin
America and Christianity grows behind China's iron curtain. (From Fresh
Nietzsche, Shaw and Wells have long since decayed in their graves, and
God continues to live! That's the message of Easter. He is risen. He is
Why do we believe? Recently an African Muslim was converted to Christ.
When someone asked him why he had become a Christian, he answered. "Well,
it's like this. Suppose you were going down a road when suddenly it forked
in two directions, you didn't know which way to take. There at the fork
in the road you could see two persons, one dead and one alive. Of which
one would you inquire the way?" This is a supreme difference between Islam
and the gospel. The Muslim regards both Muhammad and Christ as prophets
of God. But whereas Muhammad lived and died and passed from the scene of
history, Jesus lived, died, and arose!. (John T. Seamonds)
Muhammad died, and was buried. His faithful followers take pilgrimages
to visit his remains, the same is true of Buddha and other religious leaders.
But it is not true of Jesus. You cannot visit His remains, you can only
visit his empty grave, because He isn't there. He Arose!
This side of history, we understand that Jesus' death was necessary.
Without His death, there could be no resurrection. At the cross, He laid
down His life for us. He willingly gave His all. But how did his friends
that He laid His life down for view the cross?
One answer to that question would be, "from a distance." Except for
John, they weren't there. The cross was the ultimate symbol of shame. It
was reserved for vile criminals. The disciple's teacher, the one they left
home to follow, was hung on a cross, and when He was, they turned their
back on Him. No doubt they viewed the cross as shameful. Perhaps they even
began to question the wisdom of their decision to follow Him.
Disillusioned? Disappointed? Certainly. Afraid? Perhaps. The crowd was
out of control. Did they know if they were safe? Could the soldiers come
and take them away as they took Jesus away?
Then it happened! Jesus broke through the chains of death and arose
from the grave. He appeared to the woman at the empty tomb and gave them
the word to tell the disciples. Later, he appeared before the disciples,
but Thomas wasn't there.
The disciples found Thomas and told him the good news. Jesus had risen!
But Thomas doubts the apostles testimony. Let's read John
20:24-25 "Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with
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 it.'"
He'd heard about the vicious way they'd driven the nails in his hands
instead of tying them to the cross, and he'd heard the way the soldiers
stabbed him in the side with a spear, like a piece of meat. His anger and
his doubt blended to become a toxic cocktail of bitterness, "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 it." Do you blame him? His
hopes and dreams dashed, Thomas was drowning in depression and doubt-no
way he could believe the unbelievable, not without proof. In the next verse,
Jesus challenges Thomas to believe. "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!'
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.'" (John
Without touching the nail scars or putting his hand in Jesus' side,
Thomas believes. Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20:28
Thomas, by his actions said, seeing is believing, but we know that "Believing
is seeing." Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you
believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." John 20:29
That's you and me! We've not seen, and yet we believe.
believe, because He loved us. The scripture says, "Greater love hath no
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13
A volunteer at Stanford Hospital,
was present when a little boy decided to give the ultimate sacrifice because
he loved his sister Liza. The volunteer says the little girl was dying
of a rare disease, with only one chance for survival--a blood transfusion
from her five-year-old brother. After the doctor explained what would happen
during the transfusion, the little boy agreed to give his blood to save
He peacefully laid still
during the transfusion. After a while, he asked the doctor a question that
gave great insight into his character, "Will I start to die right away?"
Apparently, the boy thought he would have to give all his blood, but was
willing to do so to save his sister. (From Fresh
Jesus laid down His life
for you. There is room at the cross for you. Will you come to Him today?