One of the challenges of being a Christian in the 21st century is the fact that we have been called to love someone whom we have never seen. How do you love someone who you’ve never spoken with face to face nor have never seen? Well it really is a matter of faith and believing in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. It is also a matter of encountering Him afresh and a new in our personal devotional life and in the Word of God. There are several passages of Scripture that are very helpful in this regard. They are actually passages that I would call a blessing for those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ and yet we have never seen Him. The first of these passages is found in Peter’s first epistle in the first chapter where he writes, “Though you have never seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” (v.8 NIV). There is a deep sense of joy in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. There is also a love that comes with faith in the unseen. Giving and accepting love should be one of the deepest sources of joy that we can experience in our lives. Peter is speaking about the faith of those who have never seen the Lord Jesus Christ and yet believe in Him. One of the features of Peter’s life was he had a very impulsive spirit and yet because of that impulsive spirit he entered into some of the deepest mysteries that anyone could ever experience. Thinking about climbing out of a boat on the Sea of Galilee and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ, if only for just a few seconds. Think about being on the mount of Transfiguration and seeing the glorified Jesus along with Moses and Elijah. We find his soul catching fire with a glow that he shares with us as he thinks about our love and enthusiasm for someone that we have never seen. Faith means surrendering our all to God and obeying and believing in spite of circumstances or consequences. The “in him” is of course referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. It speaks of having a relevant faith and an expectation because of our hope and faith in Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon wrote –“little faith will take you into heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul”. But Peter was expressing in this passage admiration for those who have never seen Christ and yet believe in Him. If you’re a child of God today that includes you. But Peter isn’t the only one who leaves this kind of blessing for us living in the 21st century believing and loving Jesus.
In the 20th chapter of John’s Gospel we have the rather remarkable story of Jesus’s resurrection. As events were unfolding on the first resurrection day the disciples were all together, minus Thomas, when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to them. When the disciples told Thomas about Jesus’s resurrection he responded – “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,” (John 20:25b NIV). A week later when Jesus once again appears to the disciples and Thomas is present with them we read these very important words from the lips Christ following Thomas’s statement- “Thomas said to him, “my Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”, (John 20:28, 29 NIV). Thomas considered sight an aid to faith, he was mistaken. For faith is really an aid to sight. It is better to be convinced by moral and spiritual evidence them by the evidence of our senses. Here is a warning from Jesus for those who seek signs and wonders. While Jesus accepts and approves of Thomas’s belief in his divinity he leaves a greater blessing for you and I living in the 21st century. This blessing is for each of us who have come to the place of trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of our souls. What an amazing thing that Jesus would speak these words in the face of Thomas’ unbelief as an example of those who would be blessed because of their faith in Jesus Christ, though we have never seen Him. I’m thankful that I can grow in my love for the Lord Jesus Christ because He considered me when He hung on the cross and died for my sins. I am profoundly grateful that I can be a child of God because of Jesus’s work. I find in Peter’s blessing and Jesus’ blessing encouragement to live a life of faith and love each day. May the Spirit grant us eyes of faith to trust Jesus each day and hearts of love that are ever expanding. All praise to our great Savior who leads us in every way.
Shalom, Pastor Rich