21 December 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“ Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Is seeing ALWAYS believing? Whether we admit it or not, we all have ‘Thomas moments’ when doubts arise under perilous circumstances. But our faith in God brings us back to an unquestioning understanding that whatsoever His Word has revealed is Truth beyond the necessity to see. Faith is not the result of seeing all that God reveals, though there are ample visual proofs in nature to convince the most cynical of minds that there must be a Sovereign Mind behind Creation. Faith is not based on all that is visible to the eye: “… faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) We may judge Thomas too harshly. Though he had witnessed all the wonders and miracles performed by our Lord Jesus Christ, he nonetheless doubted that last and greatest miracle of the Resurrection.
Let us not be smug in our faith for even the other Apostles as well were downcast and in despair for those three days and three nights that Christ rested from His labors in the Garden Tomb. The two disciples on the Road to Emmaus are ample examples of that doubt, and each of the others were shocked, including Mary Magdalene at His resurrection appearance. These all had been told by the Lord of His death, burial, and resurrection, yet, were shocked to witness the actual promises of God being so completely brought to pass in the Resurrection of our Lord. The pragmatic doctrine of the religious leaders of Israel did not allow for such an event though the prophets had foretold it as well. It was such an unprecedented event that none could accept without question. The Lord had spoken many truths that were not accepted at face value until His resurrection brought to their remembrance all those things foretold of Him. Our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection sealed the truth of all that He taught, and it created in them an unquestioning faith in the Word of God – both prophetic and contemporary.
Thomas did not have the faith of Abraham which was so completely without any boundary of doubt that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son at God’s command. In His resurrected body our Lord queried Thomas’ lack of faith: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) This faith described by our Lord is that faith demonstrated by Abraham. The Word of God is Truth from eternity past to eternity future. “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.” (Psalms 33:4)
Here is a revealing truth that may escape our understanding: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:1-3) God has created all things both visible and invisible. None of us can testify to seeing the singular atomic elements of which all Creation is made. But we can see them in the aggregate! The metal, GOLD, is defined by its atomic composition ‘AU’ being its atomic symbol. None of us can testify of seeing a single atom of gold yet, have we not all seen a ring, or a bracelet, made of millions of atoms of gold? We can see the composite structure of Creation, and yet Creation itself is a mystery of God’s genius. Though we cannot see a single atom of gold, we can, indeed, see millions and billions of them when they are combined to form a gold ring. When we observe the grand picture of Creation, we are convinced of a Maker. When we hear the Word of God which commanded Creation into being, we can know the power and truth of God and His Word.
Christ is the “…Way, the Truth, and the Life!” (John 14:6) The Way is following the Truth that He confirmed and sealed in His life, death, and resurrection. That Truth leads to life everlasting for those who will deny their pride and admit the reality of God and His only Begotten Son. Hearing and believing the Word of God is faith unblemished by doubt.