Following the resurrection, Jesus appeared first to the women, then to the disciples and finally to Thomas, who was the last to see Jesus and the most unsure about the whole thing. When Jesus confronted Thomas, he said to him, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” In other words, blessed are those who believe even though they have no objective evidence. Blessed are those who believe – for in believing they will see.
It’s amazing what a difference believing can make in how we see and relate to the world. How many times have we heard stories of horrible things happening right under the noses of people who should have known better, but who simply couldn’t believe something like that could ever happen in their family or neighborhood. So they just didn’t see it. In WWII, when the United States started receiving intelligence reports that Hitler was systematically exterminating Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others the Nazis considered sub-human – many Americans simply couldn’t believe it. In fact, there are people around today who still deny the Holocaust ever happened.
The point is, sometimes seeing is not enough. People often say, “Seeing is believing.” We even have a state that made that sentiment its motto – Missouri, the Show Me State. Of course, sometimes (like Thomas) when we see we do believe.
In the case of the Holocaust, when American soldiers finally came upon the death camps and found the smoldering ovens and the huge mass graves, they did believe. But I think that more often than not, it is probably more accurate to say, “Believing is seeing.” In other words, sometimes before we can really see and understand something, our belief system has to be in place. If we don’t believe it – we might never see it.
What we believe makes a difference. The wrong perspective is imprisonment – the right perspective is empowerment. Belief can either bring power and freedom to our lives, or it can build walls around us that separate us from everybody – even God.
What difference do you suppose it would make if you lived each day with the belief that God is seeking to do something important through your life? Do you think you might begin to see everything from a different perspective? Or what difference would it make in the way you lived your life if you started believing God loves everyone and wants the same from you? Or finally, what difference would it make if you believed Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death and evil forever, and that he can also raise you to new life? Try it and see! Or, as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Believing is seeing!