Jump Start # 1935
John 20:29 “Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
I saw the Beatles the other day in a live concert. It wasn’t the actual Beatles, they are no more. It was a tribute band that was playing with the symphony. They were good. A couple of times, they were so good that it seemed like the originals. I never saw the actual Beatles live. I’ve seen them on film often. I saw Paul McCartney live. These guys were really close. As I was watching them, sitting in the fifth row, I thought wouldn’t it have been incredible to have seen the actual group, from the fifth row. I would have been a kid for that to have happened. And the screaming girls back then would have deafened their songs. But it was a thought.
This is when our passage came to my mind. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have actually heard Jesus speak? I have heard preachers for decades read the very words that Jesus spoke. I have done that myself. But how amazing it would have been to have been in the audience and actually heard Jesus. But would it? Would I have joined the number that shook their heads and criticized what He said? Would I have closed my mind and my heart to what He was saying?
Our verse today, spoken by Jesus to Thomas, reminds us of the incredible place that Jesus puts faith. Blessed are those who did not see, yet believed. How could they believe without seeing? That’s where you are I are. We are of the very massive group who never saw Jesus. In fact, you and I do not know anyone living who actually saw Jesus. Our faith is based upon the Word of God. That word, so true and so pure, is as good as actually being there. Our faith isn’t blind. Our faith isn’t based upon the rumors and stories of others. Those things tend to get stretched through the years and a bit distorted. Instead, our faith is built upon the testimony delivered by God. Tested through time, accurate, pure and backed up with supporting evidence, our faith stands as if we had see the Lord with our own eyes.
John would say, “What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled…these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete” (1 Jn 1:1,4). The proof is in the words of those who were there. Amazingly, what God left for us is not images of what Jesus looked like, but rather, impressions of His character, His heart, and His Lordship. This is what our faith is built upon and stands.
All of this leads us to some serious conclusions:
- We need to know the Word of God. We cannot see Jesus any other way. We cannot know Jesus apart from the Word of God. The more the Word is in our minds and hearts, the better our picture of Jesus becomes and the greater our faith grows. It’s easy to read books about the Bible rather than actually reading the Bible itself. Nothing beats reading the actual words. Look at the words. Think about the words.
- We need to be purists with the Word of God. We need to filter out all the opinions, ideas and supplications that folks add about the Bible. We have our own. We can manipulate the word to fit our own agendas and ideology. Instead of shaping our hearts around the word, we can reshape the word around us. Teach it as it is. Don’t change the word. Don’t water it down.
- We need to teach all of the Word of God. If the word of God is the only way that people can know Jesus and see Jesus today, then we need to teach it. We can spend more time talking about what’s right and wrong with all the churches and fail to teach Jesus. Our sermons ought to be packed with verses that are used accurately. Our Bible classes ought to be just that, classes on the Bible. We need to develop a respect and a love of the word for our children. We need to show people how to study the Bible. We need to teach and teach and teach God’s word.
- Our lives must be filled with the Word of God. Differences need to be solved using God’s word. Our hearts and character ought to reflect the Word of God. We ought to be a better people because God’s word is deep within us. In our conversations, God’s word ought to be talked about, brought up and shared. It’s so much a part of our lives, that is ought to be so natural in our speech to use God’s Words.
We know. We believe. We live. We hope. Not because we actually saw the Lord, but through faith, through the Word of God, we know that He is. The Word is God’s bridge from Heaven to us. What a blessing God’s word is. What a privilege it is be able to own a copy of this Word. What an honor it is to stand, with imperfect hands, and preach the perfect word about the perfect Savior. This word isn’t locked away in a secret museum. It’s not reserved for just the rich who could afford it. It’s not given to only a select group of people. But all of us, any of us, can have this word, God’s word, in our hands and in our hearts. God wants you to know Him. God wants you to spend forever with Him. So much so, that He has allowed you access to the one bridge that will get you there, faith through His word.
Love it, obey it, share it and live it—that’s what we must do with the word of God.