November 26, 2011
Then He (Jesus) said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." John 20:27
In the mid-1800s, the doubting country doctor had put plenty of thought into how he would make his attack on religion ... if a suitable subject fell into his hands.
His opportunity came when Peter Cartwright, circuit-rider in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois showed up at his door. After dinner and some pleasantries, the doctor launched out. He said, "Reality must be determined by what our senses perceive."
Using that school of thought, the doctor said, "Did you ever see religion?" "No," came the reply. "Did you ever smell religion?" "No." "Did you ever taste religion?" "No." "Hear religion?" "No." The physician claimed victory: "My four witnesses have made my point. The weight of evidence is overpowering, sir, and you must give religion up."
Cartwright's reply went something like this: "You old humbug, playing the hypocrite and practicing fraud on the gullible." The physician objected, but Cartwright continued: "You say you treat people's pain, do you not?" The doctor agreed. Cartwright then began his questions: "Sir, did you ever see a pain? Did you ever hear a pain? Did you ever smell a pain? Did you ever taste a pain?" The doctor agreed he hadn't.
"Then," said Cartwright, "four respectable witnesses have testified that there is no such thing as pain in the human system." That's when Cartwright began to pray for the physician who, I am pleased to say, became a Christian.
Now I spent a lot of time with that story and I hope you understand the purpose. Like Thomas, the doctor had to see before he would believe. Like the doctor, many of our friends have the same problem.
As near as I can tell, our job is to help them see.
No, they don't have the opportunity to see and touch Jesus physically as did Thomas. But there are other ways in which we believers can help undermine and breach the hardened security Satan has built up around the hearts of unbelievers.
The tragedy is this: we give up too easily. They offer a challenge or call our bluff, and we throw in our cards. How sad. How sad for them, for us, and for the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus died to save our friends, family members and co-workers, and if they don't make it into heaven, let it not be because we didn't try.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the lost are all around me. Grant me the wisdom, the quickness, the faithfulness, the commitment to do all I can to tell them the wonders of the love which is theirs through Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries