But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples, therefore, said unto him, We have seen the Lord.  But Thomas said unto them, Except I shall see in His hand the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand to His side, I will not believe.  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side, and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.        John 20:24-28                        

Thomas had doubts.  Scripture explains that when Jesus and Thomas met after Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas needed proof that this was really Jesus.  Jesus stood in front of Thomas; this was not enough.  Thomas wanted more.  He needed evidence.  Jesus provided it.  Jesus held out His nail scarred hands.  Then Thomas knew this was the Christ of the Cross, the Risen Christ.   Thomas rejoiced and exclaimed My Lord and my God. 

Because God knows all, He knows all about human doubt.  Those who distrust the reality of Jesus require proof to assuage doubt.  While the Bible informs us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), this record in Scripture tells us that Jesus wants to offer what is needed to eliminate uncertainty so faith is inspired.  For those who have walked many years with Jesus, several years, and those yet to walk across the threshold of belief in Him, each step with or toward Jesus is a step that may still require assurance or proof.  Jesus understands.  His patience is deep.  Jesus’ hope for relationship with people is far greater than quizzical thoughts and expressions that require His Word or His ways to settle doubt.  As with the Thomas of yesterday, proof is still essential for some before they will come to faith in Jesus.

Proof is exemplified in Holy Week and Easter.  These days recount the acts that provide outer evidence to the inner love that Jesus holds for every soul.  He died a brutal death when beaten and nailed to the cross at Calvary.  Jesus’ pure blood was shed to cleanse people from their sins—all sins for all time.  His bruised and hanging body was taken from the cross to the tomb.  Everyone thought that was the end of Jesus’ story.  It was not.  Three days later Jesus rose from death.  It was a glorious beginning.  Jesus’ Resurrection continues to bring hope and deliverance from death—spiritual, physical, and emotional—to those who believe in the Christ of Calvary.

Do you require proof?  Of Jesus’ total identity, part of it or proof to remind you of a once vibrant faith worn weary by life?  Proof is yours—today.  Look at your palms.  They are free from nail scars.  Jesus wants that freedom for you, for me.  He lived out His love and desire for our freedom from sin by taking pain so we would not.  So we could be cleansed from it.  Easter celebrates the love Jesus has for everyone.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ will rise from death as He did.  This proof stands against all doubt.  It is the proof that time nor tide can change. 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But solely lean on Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Edward Mote, 1797-1874
William B. Bradbury 1816-1868

May the Resurrection of Jesus Christ stir you for the first time or once again this Easter Season.  May the wonder of Christ’s love penetrate you as you ponder the proof of His incomparable love.  Rise in faith.  Live confidently in the love of Christ whose love for you is rich and abiding. 

Lord of Love and Life, You gave all so that we might live.  Praise, adoration, thanksgiving, humility and mirth are Yours, the Christ of Calvary, Lover of Souls.  This season and all seasons, we continue to rise all because of You.  Amen.