The Love of Christ For People Who Struggle To Believe

by Pastor Colin S. Smith

People struggle to believe
That may be where you are this morning. You have come to church for Easter. You participate in the service, singing these songs, but you are not sure that you believe it.

People struggle to believe. There’s nothing new or strange about that, and if you struggle to believe, it may help you to know that others shared the same struggle even in the time of Jesus.

All four of the Gospel writers record the struggles that individual people had believing in the resurrection of Jesus.

Matthew tells us, “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted” (Matthew 28:16-17).

Mark records the visit of the women to the tomb on Easter morning. The tomb was empty, except for an angelic figure who announced: “He has risen; he is not here” (Mark 16:6). Then Mark records, “And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8).

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By the way, these are striking testimonies to the authenticity of the Gospels. The Gospel writers recorded what actually happened. If these writers had felt the freedom to select what fit their message, they would never have included the detail that some people had doubted.

If the Gospel writers had felt the freedom to invent, they’d have said, “All the disciples believed immediately.” But they recorded history. They wrote events as they took place and, faithful to what happened, they recorded the struggle to believe, even on the first Easter morning.

Luke, the painstaking historian, who begins his Gospel by stating his purpose: To write an “orderly account” of the “things that have been accomplished” from the evidence of “eyewitnesses” (Luke 1:1-4). All of this is important to him throughout the entire Gospel.

At the end of his Gospel, Luke records the story of two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus describes them as “slow of heart to believe” (Luke 24:25). If the first disciples to whom Jesus appeared were slow of heart to believe, it should come as no surprise that many of us may struggle to believe as well.

Then John tells us this marvelous story of Thomas. “Doubting” Thomas is the man in the inner circle of the twelve who struggled to believe…

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