“No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3 (NIV) Before Nicodemus can get any further Jesus interrupts him, stops him dead in his tracks… “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (3:3). This is an extraordinary statement....
Jesus said to him [Thomas], “Have you believed because you have seen me?” John 20:29
This theme of seeing and believing runs right through John’s Gospel. John describes how he and Peter arrived at the empty tomb. Peter arrived first, and then John followed him: “The other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed” (20:8).
Mary Magdalene is standing outside the tomb, deeply distressed. Somebody approaches her and asks who she is looking for. She assumes it is the gardener, but then Jesus says her name, “Mary.” She turns to see Jesus, and he tells her to go and tell the disciples that he is returning to his Father. So Mary goes to the disciples and says, “I have seen the Lord” (20:18).
In the evening of that same day, the disciples are together. “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (20:19).
The faith of the apostles was not a blind leap in the dark. It was not naïve gullibility. Their faith was a believing response to the evidence placed before them.
So they come to Thomas and say, “We have seen the Lord” (20:24). No doubt when they told Thomas about it, they would have said “Thomas, it was amazing—he showed us his hands and his side.” When Thomas says, “Unless I see…I will not believe,” all he is asking for is equal access to the same evidence. The fascinating thing is that this is precisely what Jesus gave him.
Do you see this emphasis on seeing? The apostles saw the risen Lord directly and personally, and Thomas insisted that he could not identify with their faith unless he also saw. He was right.
What have you seen (or are still waiting to see) that enabled you to believe?