Sermon 2721. Faith Without Sight
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 7, 1904.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 6, 1880.
"Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet havebelieved." John 20:29.
WE count those people blessed, indeed, who lived in our Savior's day and saw Him when He dwelt here among men. And truly blessedwere their eyes, for they saw, and their ears, for they heard what kings and Prophets had long desired to see and to hear,yet were not so privileged. But we who now believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ have a blessing superior to theirs,for the benediction of the text is not to those who saw and believed, but to those who "have not seen, and yet have believed."No doubt Thomas was highly favored when his Lord said to him, "Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach hereyour hand, and thrust it into My side." This was an act of very remarkable condescension on Christ's part. I can scarcelyconceive that any other of the 12 Apostles was more tenderly treated than was this doubting disciple. Nevertheless, thoughThomas was greatly privileged, there is a superior blessing, as his Master told him-and that blessing, I hope, belongs tomany of us-"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
How often have you said in your heart, "They are indeed blessed up yonder, for they behold Christ face to face. Their eyessee the King in His beauty in the land that is very far off." Yes, Beloved, they are truly blessed-none can dispute that,for John heard the voice from Heaven saying to him, "Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." There is indescribablebliss for all those who behold their Savior's face and who wear His name on their foreheads. Yet, dear Friends, think notthat all blessedness is reserved for the glorified, for we also have much here! It almost seems as if Christ had commencedto preach again His Sermon on the Mount, or to add another beatitude to those He then announced- "Blessed are they that havenot seen and yet have believed." We must wait for the blessing of sight till the blessed by-and-by, in the land of the hereafter,but, just now, it will be quite enough to fill us to the very brim with joy if we can take in the full meaning of this messageof the Master.
This blessedness belongs to us who have not seen and yet have believed-not to all here present, if there are any who are stillin unbelief. The Lord have mercy on you, dear Friends, and bring you out of that state of death and deadly danger, givingyou faith in Him even now! Oh, that you might begin to believe in Him this very hour! But I thank God that there are manyof us who do believe in Jesus and who have received life through His name. And though we have not at present seen Him, yetHe declares that we are truly blessed.
I. So, the first thing I shall have to say is, PARTAKERS OF THIS BLESSEDNESS, DO NOT LET US TRY TO DIMINISH IT.
We have a blessing, peculiar and singular, through not having seen and yet having believed, so let us not try to diminishit, first, by pining for a voice, or a vision, or a revelation-something which is like sight-so that it could not then besaid of us that we have not seen. Have you ever had this kind of thought, when you have been living by faith alone? Perhapsyou have said to yourself, "Oh, but-but if God would in some way reveal Himself to me so that my very senses might assistmy faith! If I might be hidden away in some cleft of the rock and might see the hem of Jehovah's robe! Or if I might hearsome Divine voice but whisper that I am His-then I would, indeed, rejoice and never doubt again! If I
might see some miracle, something that I was sure was the finger of God. If I might get near enough to God to be impressedfor life with what I saw-whether it was a burning bush or some wayfaring man whom I might entertain as an angel unawares-oreven if it were some terrible judgment, yet if I could but feel certain that God had come near to me so that I should neverdoubt again, what a grand thing it would be!"
Brother, Sister, do not ask for anything of the kind! Do not wish to have it even if you could, for "blessed are they thathave not seen, and yet have believed." You want to see, you are pining for something which is practically the same as sight!You do not feel content to swim in the pure sea of faith, but your Lord will not give you what you childishly crave. Afterall, it is only vanity that you are pining for, so He will deny it to you and will say, "My child, instead of wanting to see,believe, trust, follow Me in the dark, for it is better for you not to see. Even if you did see and believe, yet you wouldhave obtained only an inferior gift, for the higher blessing, the cream of blessing belongs to those who have not seen, andyet have believed."
Next, do not try to diminish the blessing, when you are in trouble, by asking for some remarkable and special Providence toopen to you. "Oh," says someone, "I have asked for that many a time." Well, you may, if you feel led to do so, but, still,believe in God if no particular and almost miraculous Providence is manifested. God's Providence is always at work and wemake mistakes in putting down some things as Providences, and others as not. You escape in a railway accident and say thatis a Providence. Yes, but it is just as much a Providence that you go to town six days a week and there is no accident. Youare supplied with bread when you are out of work and in need-that is a Providence. Yes, but it is just as much a Providencewhen you are not out of work and do not fall into need. I do not say that you are not to pray for Providence to help you,but I do urge you not to be continually pining after those singularities of Providence which are picked out of some men'sbiographies of which more than is right may be made. Do not say, "I expect God to do for me some wonderful, strange thing,or else I cannot trust Him." No, "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed"-they who, through the wholeof their lives, know that the right hand of God has been leading them steadily on. Though there is nothing they could writeabout and put down as a sort of semi-miracle, yet they believe that all things are working together for good for them, andwill bring out Divine purposes filled with love and Grace.
Again, do not diminish the blessing by craving after ecstatic experiences. It is a very delightful thing, you know, to haveyour soul made, "like the chariots of Amminadib," and to be carried right away with holy delights. Such sacred joys have beengiven to many saints-even Paul had to write, "Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell:God knows"-and we do look upon some of those happy seasons with special delight, but we must not say, "I cannot trust in Godbecause I have no such experiences. I cannot rely upon His promises, or cling to the atoning Sacrifice because I am deniedthese high spiritual joys." Oh, no! Trust Him even if it is all dark around you! Rely upon Him though you cannot see a starin the night. If, like Paul, for a day and a night you have been in the deep. Or if, through many days and nights, neithersun nor moon shall appear, still trust in the Lord. Though you have not even had any spiritual joy arising out of the consciouspossession of Divine life in your soul, still cling to Him whose everlasting arms have never yet failed any clinging soul,and whose loving kindnesses and tender mercies are just as sure in the darkest night as in the brightest day!
There is another way in which we may diminish this blessing of faith without sight and that is, by always demanding cleararguments to answer every objection that may be raised. Some of us have lived long enough to have been informed, a great manytimes, that the Gospel has suffered most serious injury through the assaults of some learned man who has made a wonderfuldiscovery which, it is supposed, will undermine the very foundations of revealed religion. When we were boys, the great argumentsagainst the Scriptures used to be founded upon stones dug out of the bowels of the earth. Geology had come up and, therefore,Christianity was to go down! Since then, we have seen a great number of remarkable things come and go-and some dear soulswho have been very timid, have been considerably shaken and troubled.
Well now, beloved Friends, let us hear our Lord saying to us, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,"and let us come to this point-that we know what we know, and it is Divinely fixed in our soul that it is so and, therefore,if an objection is raised against what we believe, we feel certain that it goes to be answered. It may not always be our dutyto answer it-we may not have the special knowledge that is necessary for that task. We have a proverb which says that "foolsset stools for wise men to tumble over" and, any fool could throw a stone into a well, which a very
wise man could not get out again. And, nowadays, it seems to be the business of a great many learned fools to find difficultiesfor wise men to answer.
We have something else to do beside answering them. If you try to satisfy every man who starts a new theory, you will havenothing to do but to answer objections! One says that there is no such thing as matter-but if I prick myself with a pin andthe blood flows out, I do not need any other argument to convince me! I hope that you, dear Friends, have made up your mindsthat certain things are matters of conviction to you and that you will not dispute about them. For instance, the Presenceof God the Holy Spirit in your soul must be so truly a matter of personal consciousness that whatever argument may be urgedagainst it, you may say, "Well, I may not be able to answer your argument, but I know that there is a reply to it. I havenot seen, yet I have believed. Though I could not form a syllogism, nor argue upon the matter to your satisfaction, yet Iknow within myself that God is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. I know, too, that He is my Father,that He has begotten in me a new life which I never had till His blessed Spirit worked it in me. I know that He has liftedme up into a new world and has given me to see and to know what I never even dreamed of until I came to trust in Him-so letthat stand for my answer." It may not satisfy an objector, but it will satisfy yourself.
Yet again, we may diminish this blessing by being overanxious for success in our work. We ought to be very anxious to winsouls for the Lord Jesus Christ, but blessed is the man who goes on faithfully preaching the Gospel even if he does not immediatelysee souls converted, and who believes in the power of the Gospel, even though for the moment it is not manifest to him. Blessed,too, is the Sunday school teacher who has not yet seen one child in his class brought to the Savior, but who still believesthat there will be many, and who keeps on teaching them, and crying to God for their salvation!
Just once more, we must try not to diminish this blessing by wanting always to have the concurrent faith of others to supportour own. There are some people who can believe only while everybody else around them believes-if cheerful friends come inand encourage them, they feel bright and happy. That is a kind of seeing by proxy-somebody else sees, so you believe. Butblessed is he who has not seen, even with other people's eyes, and yet has believed! Blessed is he who says, "I can standalone. If there is nobody else who believes this Truth of God, I know it is true, for I found it in the Scriptures. If everybodyelse denies it, I affirm its truthfulness and I rest in it, for I am sure about it. 'Let God be true, and every man a liar'-notmerely somemen liars, but every man an liar if he contradicts the God of Truth. Let them all go whatever way they will-I standsteadfastly for God and my faith in Him shall not be shaken." This is a blessed way of living and I pray that you, dear Friends,may not rob yourselves of this benediction of our Lord even in the slightest degree, but that you may be resolved to claimas your own the beatitude in our text.
II. Secondly, and briefly, DO NOT LET US THINK THAT THIS BLESSEDNESS IS UNATTAINABLE.
If we are, indeed, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us believe that this benediction is ours and that it is possiblefor us to believe though we do not see. For, observe, that God deserves to be believed. Apart from every other consideration,His own personal Character is such that He ought to be believed. If, my Brothers and Sisters, God had spoken to us in theScriptures and revealed a Truth which had no analogy in nature-which was not supported by the judgment of learned men andto which our own experience seemed to be a contradiction-yet, nevertheless and notwithstanding, God must be believed! If everymorsel of evidence that ever came in our way had to be placed in the opposite scale and we had nothing but, "God has saidit," to put into this one, the fact that God has said it ought, to every loyal heart, to weigh down all the rest! Though youhave not seen, surely you are never going to compare your poor eyes with God! Though you have never heard, surely you arenot going to set the evidence of your eyes against the declaration of God who cannot
For my part, I am determined that if all my senses were to contradict God, I would deny every one of them and sooner believemyself to be out of my right mind than believe that God could lie! And I desire to feel that in every emotion of my spirit,every throb of my heart, every thought of my brain and everything that is contrary to the plainly-revealed Truth of God, Iwill count myself a fool and a madman-and I will reckon God to be wise and true. If we can exercise such faith as that-andI am sure God well deserves it, for the infinite Creator, the ever-blessed Faithful and True, cannot be guilty of falsehoodand cannot even err-so, if we trust Him as He ought to be trusted, then shall we realize the blessedness of which our textspeaks.
Further, dear Friends, look along the whole line of history, and note how the saints have trusted in the Lord, and see whetherHe has not been true to them. Trace the Inspired record from the days of Noah to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and seewhat it will prove to you. Has He said anything and has He not done it? Has He promised and then has He ever failed to keepHis word? Has He threatened and has He not carried out the threat? Look through the biographies of all who have trusted Him.Has He deceived any one of them? Has it ever been shown that it is a foolish thing to believe God? Was there ever a man whotruly trusted in the unseen Jehovah and who, by doing so, was made a fool of? Find him out, if you can-in a Bible story oranywhere else-the man who really believed in God and, afterwards, came back saying that he had believed a fiction, or that,if God existed at all, He had broken His promise and deluded the man who relied upon it. No, there is no such case, and therenever shall be one! The whole roll of the past confirms the faithfulness of God.
I also appeal to you who have believed in God and ask if your own experience has not warranted your faith Brothers and Sisters,ever since you have known the Lord and up till now, how has He treated you? Has He ever given you any occasion for distrustingHim? Rightly looked at, has there even once occurred, in the whole of your personal or family history, anything that reasonablypermitted you to suspect the truthfulness of God? O Brethren, I have sometimes called myself ten thousand, thousand foolsin one for ever doubting the faithfulness of my God! When I look back over my own life, it always seems remarkable-to me,at any rate-as anything that has ever been found in the pages of fiction. Oh, how wonderfully and how graciously has God dealtwith me! What do I not owe to His faithfulness and truth? Doubt You, my Lord? I could doubt all except You-and doubt myselfmost of all! Cannot all of you, Beloved, who love the Lord, say the same?
Some of you have been through deep waters. You have been very sick, or very poor, or perhaps you have lost many dear relativesand friends. You have been greatly cast down in spirit. You have gone through fire and through water. Well, now, how has theLord dealt with you in all these experiences? I know that you have found His mercy to be-
"Always faithful, always sure." Well, then, He deserves to be trusted although you cannot see Him. You know what kind of aman he is of whom we say, "Trust him? Yes, I would trust him as far as I could throw Him, but no further!" But what a dishonoryou would put upon your God if you could not trust Him any further than that! Indeed, that is no trust at all, it is sight.Do not, therefore, begin to doubt God because you cannot see Him and because, to reason and sense, difficulties seem to intervene,but bravely trust Him when you see Him not, for He well deserves to be believed. The history of His whole Church proves thatHe is worthy to be trusted-and your own personal history proves it, too.
III. I have spoken but briefly upon that part of our subject, although much more might be said upon it. But I want
to devote a little more time to one other point. DO NOT LET ANY OF US MISS THIS BLESSING THROUGH NOT
SEEING THE GROUND OF IT.
It is a blessed thing to trust God when you cannot trace Him-to believe when you cannot see. For, first, this is a sure markof a spiritual and renewed mind. There were some who saw Christ who, nevertheless cried, "Away with Him, crucify Him!" Therewere some who saw Christ and who could not help perceiving that there was a wonderful power in Him, yet they did not believein Him and they were not saved by Him. There were persons who saw Christ and who even, in some sense, believed in Him, yetwho believed not with true saving faith. But if any of you who have not seen Him, really believe in Him, this is the evidencethat you are the children of God!
Let me remind you of that description of the people of God which is given by Peter in his first Epistle, the first chapter,and the 8th and 9th verses-"Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoicewith joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." So that the peoplewho have received the salvation of their souls are those who love the One they have never seen-and who even rejoice in Himwhom they do not see! You may conclude that you are truly a child of God-you may make certain of your election and of youradoption into the Lord's family if you can truly say, "I am one of those who have not seen the Lord Jesus, and yet I havebelieved in Him. I can say to Him-
'I love You, dearest Lord! And will, Unseen, but not unknown.
Next, this kind of man is indeed blessed because, believing when he has not seen is a proof that his heart is right towardsGod. I do not know any better evidence that two persons are agreed with one another than that they fully trust each other.If I have a friend in whom I so implicitly trust that I do not need any evidence, there should be no writing between him andme. He shall not need to say that what he says is true-if he only says it, then I am certain of the truth of it. That is becausemy friend and I are on such good terms with one another. And when you trust God in spite of all outward appearances and surroundingcircumstances, it is a comfortable proof to yourself that you are on good terms with God, that you are walking in sweet fellowshipwith Him and it is one of the most blessed facts in your whole history!
Perhaps God is chastening you just now and your heart is very heavy. There are many things which seem to discourage you, butyou can still say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Ah, my dear Friend, you are among the blessed of the Lord!Yes, among the very choicely blessed ones, for it is clear that there is no quarrel between you and your God. You have beenreconciled to Him and you are walking with Him, even though you are walking in the dark. I like that saying of the old Scotchwomanthough it sounds strange. When someone said to her, "Perhaps, after all, God's promises will not be true to you and you willbe lost." "Well," she answered, "if I am lost, He will lose more than I shall." It seems a strange thing for anyone to say,but the good woman meant that the Lord would lose His honor and His Character for truthfulness if He allowed one to be lostwho had trusted in Him. That showed that she was on good terms with God and understood Him-and all such people are greatlyblessed.
Again, dear Friends, those who believe Christ, whom they have not seen, are blessed because their character and conduct inthis respect are most acceptable with God. I do not know anything which gratifies a man more than to be implicitly trusted.There are not many of us who are worthy of such confidence, but when people do absolutely trust us, we feel that they havegiven us all the honor that they can possibly put upon us. No flattery can ever equal that warm glowing praise which is passedupon a man when we put entire confidence in him. And our Lord delights for us to just give ourselves up to trust in Him inthat fashion. I do not believe that the seraphim in Heaven praise the Lord as much, in all their hallelujahs, as a poor triedchild of God does when he trusts himself entirely in his Heavenly Father's hands. And it seems to me that the darker the nightis, and the heavier the burden is, and the more crushed the spirit is, if we can fully trust Him, then, the sweeter is themusic of our resignation and the more acceptable is the homage which we pay to God. Ah, though You break me up until I amsmall as the grains of March dust, and though You blow upon me as with a hurricane that threatens to drive me away, yet shallevery atom of my being trust in You, and believe You, O my God!
If we can carry out that resolution, it will honor God and be acceptable to Him in the highest degree. Without faith, it isimpossible to please God. Is it not strange that the eternal God can ever be "pleased" with us? It is a wonderful thing, certainly,that we poor creatures should, by any means, be able to give pleasure to the infinitely-happy God-yet so we do when we trustHim.
Again, you shall find that the man who believes without seeing is truly blessed because that faith brings comfort to his ownsoul I desire to bear my own testimony concerning this matter. I have never been so happy, in my whole life, as when I havehad nothing to trust to but God. Those times in which I have been flung into the sea and been compelled to swim because Icould not touch the bottom anywhere, have been the most joyous times to my own heart. If I had to select the choicest hoursof my life-those which I would like to have over again-they would be those times in which I may have been thought rash andimprudent, but in which I have been enabled just to believe God and to leave everything in His hands. At such times I haveseen the iron, swim! I have seen the Lord's hand working marvelously in the midst of the earth and it has given me the utmostdelight!
Now, is not every Christian here able to say just that? It is not your happiest time when the barn is full and when the vatsrun over the brim, for, sometimes, you have been satisfied with the abundance of your earthly mercies but your happiest timehas been when there was only the last handful of meal at the bottom of that barrel and you had to scrape it up to make a cakefor the Prophet-yet there was always enough to make a cake! And when the oil only dribbled out of the cruse, and you thoughtit would soon be dried up, yet the Lord told you it would never be exhausted, and it never was! I think it is better to havethat barrel of meal, and that cruse of oil, than it would be to have the biggest vat of oil you ever saw, and the largestgranaries full of corn, so long as you have this promise for your motto-"The Lord will provide." If the Lord will provide,you cannot have a better Provider! He is not in the habit, as the God of Providence, of doing anything sparingly. He fillsthe stores of the widows and orphans and feeds them well. And when He feeds His own children,
He feeds them well. Happy is that man, and blessed in his own heart is his sense of intense comfort, who can say, "I cannotsee, but I do believe."
There is another reason why such a person is blessed, and that is that he is having formed in him a grand character. It isa poor character that lives only on what it sees-that is the beast's character-it is quite satisfied as long as its eyes canperceive the pasture. There is no great character that can ever come to a man who has no faith. The heroes among men are allmen of faith-even those who are heroes concerning common matters, the heroes of patriotism-though it may not always be faithin God that they possess, yet is it faith of some sort that braces them up and makes them superior to the doubters all aroundthem. No man could be a William Tell who had not firm confidence and, certainly, no man could have been a Martin Luther whohad not full and entire trust in his God. It is a wondrous education to a man to be compelled to trust his God-to be drivenright out from paddling along the shore in his little canoe by a big rolling wave which carries him right out to sea-and therehe is taught to be a mariner who can brave the tempest and laugh at the hurricane! We would always remain children and haveto be carried in our mother's arms, in long clothes, if we had not trials and troubles. God often hides Himself in order toteach us to trust Him more-and so, God helping us, we grow to be men.
And, lastly, let me remind you that we are very likely coming to a time when we shall need to believe without the use of oureyes. If our Lord Jesus Christ does not soon come, some of us shall die. And if your faith depends on your sight, what willyou do when your eyes are in the grave? They are going to be there-you will not be able to carry a single particle of thiswonderful telescopic, microscopic, optical arrangement of yours with you to Heaven. I have seen many of my dear friends dieand I know that their eyes were still in their bodies, for I looked into them and helped to close them. They did not takethem away with them, so how do they get on, now that they have no eyes? I have seen their ears left behind and laid in theircoffins-and all their senses have gone, like their seeing and hearing. And if they could not believe without their senses,what would they do in the disembodied state where they now are before the Throne of God?
Why, they commune with Christ without the intervention of the flesh! Then, do so now, Beloved! Do not always be needing touse these poor eyeballs, these dim glasses, here, for they do not see much. There are angels in this place, flying to andfro while I am preaching. I cannot see them-it is my eyes that make me blind-but I shall see them when these eyes are gone.My Lord is also here. I know He is, for He gave His promise of old that He would be, and He is sure to keep His word. ButI cannot see Him-and that is the fault of these poor eyes of mine. When they are gone, then I shall see Him! When I get ridof the encumbrances of eyes and ears-
"Then shall I see, and hear, and know All I desired or wished below! And every power find sweet employ In that eternal worldofjoy."
What would I do if I could not draw near to God without my eyes and ears and hands, without touch and taste, when I am sosoon to live in a world where there will be no hands, or eyes, or ears until the Resurrection morning? Then we shall get ourbodies back again, but, until then, if we are to be blessed at all, it must be in the way our Lord says in the text-by faithwithout sight! So, Brothers and Sisters, if you want to enjoy great blessings. If you wish to lead a happy life and to diea triumphant death. If you would have a glorious time between death and the coming of Christ. If you would see your Master'sface with acceptance in the day of His appearing, ask that this blessing may be yours-"Blessed are they that have not seen,and yet have believed."
Now I close when I have just said to you who do not know whether you are converted or not, but are waiting until you havesome wonderful impression, or until you hear a voice down in the garden, or until you have a striking dream or see an apparitionand so on-all that rubbish will be of no use to you! Just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ without any of those things! Youare a sinner and Jesus Christ is a Savior-so come and trust Him. Though you see Him not, yet is He to be found by you if youseek Him with all your heart. Therefore, wait for none of these things that I have mentioned, but come and trust Him-and blessedshall you be in believing although you cannot see Him! The Lord add His blessing, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN20:19-31.
Verse 19. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples wereassembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. He has not risenfrom the tomb many hours before we find Him thus coming to His disciples. His love to them was too great to permit Him tobe long absent from them. He had said to them, "A little while, and you shall not see Me and again, a little while, and youshall see Me." So He kept His word. He stood in their midst and said unto them, "Peace be unto you." He is the Lord and Giverof peace just as much, now, as He was then! Oh, that He would speak peace to the hearts of all His people now! May each believingsoul among you have a deep peace! May all your troublous thoughts come to an end and every anxious mind be calmed! Peace!Blessed peace! Oh, that the Spirit of peace would breathe it upon us all! "Peace be unto you."
20. And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side. These were the marks to help their recognition ofHim. These were the memorials to excite their gratitude. These, too, were the tokens of His condescension, for a man doesnot show His wounds to any but to those whom He loves. "He showed unto them His hands and His side." You cannot see that sight,Brothers and Sisters, but you can meditate upon it. Think how He gave those blessed hands to the nails and that precious sideto the soldier's spear-and, as you think of them, let your love flow forth unto Him who suffered thus for you.
20. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. I should think they were glad! They had been afraid of the Jews,but they forgot that fear when they saw the Lord. I suppose that, at first, when He suddenly appeared in their midst, theywere afraid of Him. But now there was first a sacred calm and then there was a ripple of holy gladness on the surface of thestill waters of their souls. We cannot see Him, Brothers and Sisters, with these eyes of ours, but by faith we can beholdHim! So we may have gladness even as the disciples had. We ought to be the happiest people in all the world because Christis ours and is spiritually with us as He promised that He would be.
21. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you. "You are to go forth andto bless the world, even as I have done. My Father has sent Me; and 'even so send I you.' You are to be My delegates to carryon My service-My commissioned officers to go forth to conflict and to conquest in My name."
22. 23. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive the Holy Spirit: whose sins you remit,they are remitted unto them; and whose sins you retain, they are retained. This is as much as for Christ to say, "I will backup your ministry. When you preach that men are condemned for sin of which they have not repented, I will make it to be soas a matter of fact. When you declare pardon to all who trust in My precious blood, I will make it so. That Truth of God whichyou preach shall have My seal of approval set upon it. My power shall go forth with your proclamation of the Truth, so thatit shall be seen that you are not proclaiming a fiction. When you preach My Gospel, I will remit the sins of all who believeit. And when you pronounce sentence of condemnation on such as remain in unbelief, I will confirm your declaration!"
24. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came." Very likely, loving Jesus, as he evidentlydid, very much, Thomas was broken-hearted when he found that his Master was dead. So, when his fellow disciples told him thatJesus was alive, he could not believe it. He felt that the news was too good to be true. He had fallen into a fit of despondencyand got away, as broken-hearted, depressed people often do, trying to get quite alone, when Christian company would be oneof the best ways of finding comfort and solace. So, "Thomas was not with them when Jesus came."
25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. "We have seen the Lord. There is no mistake aboutthe matter, for we have all seen Him." And thus, with loving, anxious desire, they tried to cheer him and to make him participatein the gladness which they themselves had enjoyed. Dear Friends, always look after your weak Brothers and Sisters. If thereis a Thomas who is depressed and sad, and who therefore shuns you, do not shun him, but find him and try to tell him whatyou have learned by way of comfort for your own heart. Perhaps God will use it to comfort him, also.
25. But he said unto them, Except Ishallsee in His hands the print of the nails, andput my finger into the print of the nails,and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. Thomas should not have said that, because, after all, it was not true.I do not suppose that he did put his finger into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into Christ's side, yet
he did believe. We sometimes say a great deal that would have been far better left unsaid and, especially when our spiritis depressed, it is a token of wisdom to feel, "We are hardly in a condition of mind in which we can speak as we ought, sowe had better remain silent."
26. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. That is better. His love brought him out,you see, away from himself. And it often happens that by getting a man away from himself, we get him away from his worst enemy.
26. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. His first salutation, afterHis resurrection, was such a choice one that there could not be a better, so He repeated it when He appeared the second time.Peace is so rich a blessing that even the Divine Master can say nothing sweeter to His faithful followers! So again He saysto them, "Peace be unto you."
27. Then He said to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and beholdMy hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side:and be not faithless, but believing. Our dear and condescending Master would give to His feeble and somewhat petulant discipleall the proofs he had asked to have! He shall have evidence clear as noonday if he must have it. Thomas, however, as I suppose,was wise enough not to accept the gracious offer of his Lord. Sometimes it is wise not to take what God may put in our way.You remember how Balaam was allowed to go with the men sent to him by Balak, and he did so, yet it would have been much wiserof him if he had not gone. I do not think that Thomas put his finger into the print of the nails, or thrust his hand intohis Master's side. On the contrary, we read-
28. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Leaping out of the slough of doubt onto the rock of confidenceby a single spring, and getting further, perhaps, than others had done who had before outstripped him, he inferred the Deityof Christ from His wounds and His Resurrection-a grand chain of argument of which we have not the intervening links. His thoughtfulmind made him feel that if Christ was, indeed, risen-the same Christ who had died-it was proved by those death-wounds thatHe was both Lord and God-while his personal, appropriating faith, realizing the identity of the Savior, made him say, "MyLord and my God."
29. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. That is well.
29. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. That is better.
30, 31. And truly, many other signs did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: but theseare written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life throughHis name. Now, dear Friends, has the purpose for which this Book was written, been answered in your case? Have you been ledto "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God," and so to believe that you "have life through His name"? If not, whynot? May you have Grace to answer that question, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen. 225