STOP DOUBTING, AND BELIEVE

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

APRIL 01, 2024

TOPIC: STOP DOUBTING, AND BELIEVE

BY T. O. BANSO

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:27 New International Version).

The death and resurrection of Jesus was foretold by the prophets. Jesus also spoke about this. He prepared the minds of His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection and assured them that He would rise from the dead on the third day.

For example, Matthew 16:21 records that Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter didn’t like what Jesus said. He called Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying that what He said would never happen to Him (verse 22). “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men’” (verse 23 New International Version). It was, therefore, not surprising that when Jesus died, Peter and the other disciples didn’t look forward to His resurrection despite the assurance He had given them. They did not understand all Jesus said about His death and resurrection.

The book of Mark also records this conversation between Jesus and His disciples and Peter’s objection to what He said: He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men’” (Mark 8:31-33 New International Version).

The book of Luke also records Jesus thus: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life(Luke 9:22 New International Version). This statement is clear enough but the disciples did not understand it because when Jesus was resurrected, they didn’t believe the reports that He had risen or the reports of those who had seen Him.

On another occasion, Jesus told His disciples about His impending death and resurrection: When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.’ And the disciples were filled with grief” (Matthew 17:22-23 New International Version). Being filled with grief was not enough. Did they understand and believe what He said? Mark 9:30-32 records this conversation of Jesus with His disciples and remarks in verse 32 “But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it” (New International Version). Please note this. This was the reason for their unbelief and doubt after Jesus was resurrected.

Also, Luke 9:43-45 records Jesus’ prediction of His death, and notes in verse 45, But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it” (New International Version).

Furthermore, in Matthew 20:17-19, the Bible records another prediction by Jesus of His death and resurrection: Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!’” (New International Version). This is also recorded in Mark 10:32-34 and Luke 18:31-32.

All these scriptures and others about the impending death and resurrection of Jesus should have prepared the minds of His disciples and not think that His death was the end. They should have eagerly expected His resurrection on the third day. But they not only didn’t expect it, they also surprisingly didn’t believe initially that He had risen, as He had said.

After Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared first to Mary Magdalene, she went to tell His disciples who were mourning and weeping (Mark 16:10). They didn’t have to be weeping and mourning if they believed that He would be resurrected three days later. To make matters worse, “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it” (verse 11 New International Version).

Luke 24:9-11 puts it this way: When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (New International Version). Note the last sentence of this scripture. The disciples did not believe the women because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Why should it? Were their words different from what Jesus had said? Their reaction showed that they didn’t understand all that Jesus told them about His death and resurrection.

Mark 16:12-13 says that afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of His followers while they were walking in the country, and when they returned and reported it to the rest, they did not believe them. These two disciples were on their way to Emmaus when Jesus joined them in their conversation and revealed Himself to them later when they arrived at Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32).

In John 20:19-23, when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He showed them His hands and side, they were overjoyed when they saw Him. When they told Thomas, a disciple who was absent when Jesus appeared to them, that they had seen the Lord, he did not believe it. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (verse 25b New International Version). If Thomas had understood and believed that Jesus would be resurrected, he should have jumped for joy. But like the rest, he didn’t believe it.

Imagine what would have happened if one of the disciples of Jesus had written an account, a minority report, that contradicted that of the rest that Jesus died and was resurrected. Jesus never left room for this. That’s why for forty days after His resurrection, He showed Himself on different occasions to His disciples to prove that He rose from the dead.

To convince Thomas that He had risen from the dead, as the other disciples had told him, Jesus chose another time that Thomas was with the other disciples to appear to them. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:26-27 New International Version). Note the phrase “Stop doubting and believe.” GOD’S WORD Translation says the same thing, except for the punctuation mark: “Stop doubting, and believe.” The Good News Translation says, “Stop your doubting, and believe!” The Contemporary English Version renders it as “Stop doubting and have faith!” The International Standard Version says, “Stop doubting, but believe.”

If you are doubting or disbelieving the death and resurrection of Jesus because it seems like nonsense, as His disciples did, you must stop now and believe. Jesus died and is no more among the dead. As the two men in clothes, gleaming like lightning, told the women who came to the tomb of Jesus, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again’” (Luke 24:5b-7 New International Version).

Stop doubting, and believe. Jesus is risen from the dead to die no more. He is alive forever! In Mark 16:14, when Jesus appeared to the Eleven (His eleven disciples after Judas Iscariot had committed suicide) as they were eating, He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Stop doubting, and believe. The fact that Jesus died and rose from the dead, as He had said, is proof that you can believe every other word He has said. You can trust that all His words shall come to pass. Therefore, stop doubting, and believe. Believe the words of Jesus. Have faith in Him. Trust Him that His promises shall be fulfilled.

Jesus said to the people in John 6:35-36, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe” (New King James Version). Do you believe in Him? Stop doubting, and believe.

In addition to believing that He died and was resurrected, believe every other thing He said. Jesus said in John 7:38, He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (New King James Version). Do you believe in Him?

In John 11:25-26, Jesus said,I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (New King James Version).

Stop doubting, and believe. Jesus said in John 12:44, He who believes in Him, believes not in Him but in Him who sent Him. Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, you will not abide in darkness, for He came as a light into the world (John 12:46). If you believe in Him, you also believe in Him who sent Him – God the Father. Do you believe in God? Jesus said in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.”

Stop doubting, and believe. He who believes in Jesus will do the works that He did and even greater works (John 14:12). “We know that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, never to die again; death has no authority over him.  For his death was a unique event that need not be repeated; but his life, he keeps on living for God” (Romans 6:9-10 Complete Jewish Bible). Stop doubting, and believe.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, I believe in the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I shall not doubt but believe not only His death and resurrection but also believe all His words. My faith in Jesus and His words will not diminish in Jesus’ name.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org

BE OUR FINANCIAL PARTNER 
Account Name: Cedar Ministry International
Bank: Heritage Bank Plc.
Naira Account: 6001608129
US Dollar Account: 2100077073