“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).
Since the day the stone was rolled away from His tomb, many have rejected the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, the foundation of the Christian faith. The Jewish religious leaders concocted a lie to deny His resurrection, claiming that His disciples stole His body away. But His followers were certain that He had returned to life because they had seen him with their own eyes, and touched Him with their own hands. They shared meals with Him, walked with him, and marveled in His presence. Saul encountered the resurrected Lord on the road to Damascus, and though he did not physically touch Him, he heard his voice with his own ears and saw Him in glory so bright that it blinded his human eyes. These were the last eyewitnesses of Jesus.
To us, they are specially blessed because they had seen and heard and touched. They had the advantage of His physical presence to bolster their faith. Who could doubt after witnessing the resurrected Lord? (Believe it or not, some did-Matthew 28:17.) But what about you and me? We have not physically seen Him or touched Him or heard Him, and that makes faith a challenge for us. We like proof that we can affirm physically. Isn’t that what our culture has taught us? Don’t trust anything you can’t prove. I’ve talked with several people who are firm in their unbelief and they always come back to the same manta: “When you can prove God scientifically, I’ll believe.”
But hear what Jesus said to one of His disciples: “Because you have seen me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29-italics added). That’s you and me and every believer since the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born (ref: Acts 2). Jesus is saying that we are more blessed because we haven’t seen than are those who have.
Why would that be? Because when we “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), we show that we believe God is truthful in all He has said and promised. Our faith is a testament to who God is. That is why John said “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has [God’s testimony] in his heart” (1 John 5:10). God’s testimony is twofold: is it the declaration that Jesus is His Son (Matthew 3:17), and it is the promise that God has given us eternal life through His Son (ref. 1 John 5:11). In other words, we affirm to the world that God is truthful. It’s not as though God needs our affirmation, but the world needs to be convicted of the truth of God.
By contrast John says, “Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son” (1 John 5:10). When men reject Jesus Christ, they are saying that God is not truthful nor trustworthy.
The heart of faith is what we believe about God and about what He has said through His Word, His Son and His Spirit. We see that in Hebrews 11—the “Hall of Faith”—as saint after saint hears God, believes God and acts on what God has said. God told Noah, build a boat, because a flooding rain is coming. Until the flood, rain had never fallen on the earth, so Noah had to decide if he was going to believe what he had known all his life, or believe what God told him. Noah believed and built the ark, and God declared him righteous because of his faith. Abraham, an old man, married to an old woman heard God say – your wife will bear you a son who will become the seed of the promise I have made to you. Abraham, though he faltered at first, believed God, and Isaac became their joy and delight. When God commanded him to sacrifice this same son, Abraham weighed God’s promise against what would be the physical outcome of this action, and he believed God and acted in obedience. God spared Isaac’s life and fulfilled His promise. The Bible is full of faith-filled people like Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Esther, and many more.
When I say I am a Christian, I am not making a statement about my assent to the truths of Christianity; I am making a statement about the truthfulness of what God has said about Jesus Christ: “This is my Son” and “Eternal life is through Him.” I believe these words are true. When I say that I believe in Jesus, I am putting all my hope and confidence is God’s power to save me as He has promised. That is why “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 13:1). I cannot see Jesus with my own eyes, nor have I ever seen heaven. But I believe that He is the risen Lord and that His sacrifice is sufficient to save me and give me eternal life.
If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are blessed in every way; for this life and life eternal. You are blessed because you stand on the confidence of God’s testimony, not on the traditions of men. You are blessed because
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepare for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:10).
But for us who believe, “we will see the glory of God” (John 11:40). Our faith will be made sight and our hope in Christ will be confirmed. In the chronicles of heaven our names will be recorded among the great saints of human history, and we will be commended with who pleased God by their faith. What a blessing it is to believe!
Holy Father, I believe, not because I can see, but because You have said, and I know Your words are true. My faith is in Your Son, Jesus Christ, who was and is and is to come. In Him is all my hope and trust. Amen.