"Praise the One who breaks the darkness, With a liberating light; Praise the One who frees the pris'ners, Turning blindness into sight. Praise the One who preached the Gospel, Healing ev'ry dread disease, Calming storms, and feeding thousands, With the very Bread of peace.
"Let us praise the Word Incarnate, Christ, who suffered in our place. Jesus died and rose victorious, That we may know God by grace. Let us sing for joy and gladness, Seeing what our God has done; Let us praise the true Redeemer, Praise the One who makes us one."
John the Baptist had been imprisoned by King Herod. From his cell, he sent messengers to Jesus with a despairing question: "Are you the One who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Was Jesus really the promised Messiah? Jesus did not simply answer, "Yes." Instead, He sent the messengers back to report on what they saw Him doing and teaching: "Go and tell John what you hear and see" (Matthew 11:3-4). Jesus was "turning blindness into sight" and "healing ev'ry dread disease." He was raising the dead and preaching good news to the poor. Yes, Jesus was the One!
Jesus' mighty works proved that He was who He claimed to be—the Son of the God and the Messiah of Israel. Jesus said to those who questioned His identity: "The works that I do in My Father's Name bear witness about Me" (John 10:25b). At Pentecost, the apostle Peter announced that through Jesus' "mighty works and wonders and signs," God the Father testified to His Son's identity (Acts 2:22b).
The greatest sign of all, His resurrection on Easter morning, proved beyond doubt that Jesus was the One foretold by the prophets. Yet, like John, Jesus' disciple Thomas needed assurance. He wanted to see and touch the nail scars that marked Jesus' hands and the scar from the spear in His side. Jesus invited Thomas to touch His wounds while speaking to his doubt: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John20:29b).
We have not yet seen the Lord Jesus. Yet we have the seen and heard the witness of the written Word that testifies to Him. Called by the Spirit to faith in the Word Incarnate, we believe that Jesus is the One! He is the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God, the One whom John recognized and announced as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29b).
Like John (and Thomas), we may doubt and despair, wondering if Jesus really is who He claimed to be, if He can really do all that He has promised. Our assurance is found in that great miracle: His resurrection from the dead. He is the One who on the cross "suffered in our place" and "died and rose victorious." He is the One who "breaks the darkness" of sin, death, and the devil. He is the One who shelters us with His love. He is the One!
THE PRAYER: Dear crucified and risen Lord, we believe You are the Messiah and Savior. Accept our grateful praise, now and for all eternity. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness," which is found on page 849 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever doubted something only to find it was true later?
2. Do you think Thomas would have eventually come to faith if he hadn't seen the risen Christ? Why or why not?
3. Today, we believe though we have not seen. What sorts of faith doubts have you dealt with?
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