Matthew 14:31; Mark 4:40; Luke 24;25
Here is a time that many people, those faithful and those not faithful, remember and refer to Peter walking on the water. He has just finished seeing Jesus take 2 fish and 5 biscuits and feed a multitude. He has also seen the healing and miracles performed by Jesus. He now sees an apparition in the midst of the storm that was threatening the ship that he was in. Peter experiences fear. We are told that the disciples cried out with fear. They knew that no ordinary man could walk on water. Jesus replied, “Be of Good cheer; it is I, be not afraid.” We have fear and doubt. There is a difference between fear and doubt. Doubt is a lack of trust. Peter replied, “if it is you bid me come to you on the water, Jesus said, come.” In faith and without doubt, Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking on the water. When he realized what was happening, he started to doubt. Doubt defeats. Jesus said to Peter, “wherefore didst thou doubt? Notice the lack of trust in Jesus expressed on the circumstances.
Fear can bring doubt. Our relationship is built on faith. We are saved through faith. Notice that statement. We are saved by faith and become a “new man in Christ.” Then we are to step out in faith trusting the Lord to lead us. There are times that we are like Peter and exhibit exuberance and plunge in and follow. Then we realize we have never done this before and fear starts to set in. That is when we start to doubt. When Peter realized he had never walked on water before, he experienced fear and started to doubt Jesus. Jesus said in Mark, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
Jesus then says to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:” We have all we need to serve the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Why do we hesitate? Do we experience fear in our lives as we try to serve the Lord? Does that bring us to doubt the Lord and His ability to keep us, guide us and protect us? Does fear bring doubt in witnessing to others? Luke 12:5 leaves us with the idea we should only fear God. 2Ti_1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 1Jn_4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.
How many years had I had a dim view of Thomas the Doubter. Too many. While preparing for a study for Church on Wednesday night, my eyes were opened to the man Thomas truly was. I had heard too many references about his doubting and that had clouded my thoughts on Thomas.
Let me show you a few things about Thomas that are seldom mentioned. John 11:14-16, Jesus has the desire to go see the family of Lazarus. The disciples objected on the grounds that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus. All except Thomas. His reply – “let’s go die with him.”
How often is this quoted of this great man. Now I say great for these four reasons.
1. He displayed a fervent love for the Master. (Do you?)
2. He was ready to act. (Are you?)
3. He was ready to give an expression to his faith by death. (Will you?)
4. He opposed the other disciples in their faithlessness. (Would you?)
John 14:5,6 – Where Jesus said “Let not your hearts be troubled …..I go to prepare a mansion for you … ” Jesus finished this up by saying “And whither I go ye know and the way ye know. Thomas made two revealing statements at this point – “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. – How can we know the way?” Here are some points on this statement.
1. Thomas was anxious about the Lord leaving him. (Are we anxious when we drift from the Lord?)
2. Thomas desired the truth. (Do we desire the truth?)
3. Jesus answer was bigger than the question. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” ( Are you on this way, in this truth, and truly living and going to see the Father. There is only One way.)
To know Christ is to know the Goal and the way to it.
John 20:24-31 records The doubt that Thomas had. How hard we judge Thomas on this one account. Let our memory wander back to resurrection morning and two disciples from the inner circle racing to the tomb and experiencing wonder and doubt. How about when Peter denied Jesus three times. After the crucifixion and resurrection in there not a statement about the disciples remembering certain things that Jesus told them?
One thing that Thomas could not do was believe through the belief of others. Rush to verse 28 where Thomas says – MY LORD AND MY GOD.”
1. Instant dispersion of doubt.
4. Recognition of Supreme Diety.
My respect for Thomas has been elevated. He had courage and strength of conviction.
May we all desire these fine points of Thomas.