Over the past two weeks, we have focused on how Jesus helps us conquer fear and doubt by demonstrating his power through the miracles and by providing us with his Word. Although we should be inspired to confidence by observing God’s power in the miracles and in nature and through meditating on his word, we still sometimes experience fear and doubt. I believe Jesus knew there would be times when we would need his personal and intimate reassurance that we can defeat fear in our lives. For those times when you are filled with doubt and anxiety, Jesus has provided a way to personally comfort and reassure you.
For some folks, there is just no substitute for first-hand experience. Missouri is called the “Show me” state in reference to the legendary skepticism of the state’s citizens. Many of us are from the spiritual state of Missouri. Does God have an answer for that type of doubter? What if you just have to see it or feel it to believe it? I think you probably know that Jesus had an answer for the Missouri-type folks on the day of his resurrection. Would it surprise you to know he has the same answer for us today?
Look at the story from Luke 24:33-39. The two men from Emmaus ran back to Jerusalem to report their encounter with Jesus and…
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
You have to go to John’s gospel to see this same scene play out a second time for the benefit of Thomas. We label this apostle, “Doubting Thomas” singling him out for his doubt and yet he was not the only one paralyzed by unbelief. Fear and doubt was universal among these disciples.
Have you noticed a trend yet among these stories? John and his disciples are alone in prison; the two disciples are alone on the road to Emmaus; the disciples are alone in their room and Thomas is apparently off alone separate from them. In each case, the cure for their fears and doubt came from leaving their solitude and making contact with Jesus Christ.
Have you ever felt isolated and disconnected from Jesus Christ feeling like you were an island in a spiritual ocean? Have you ever felt like things would just be better if somehow your savior could just wrap his arms around you and hold you tight? When we struggle with uncertainty and doubt we need to receive his personal attention, witness the power of his works and feel his healing touch.
But can we touch physically his body today? Absolutely! The church is the body of Christ and when we are alone in our doubts, we need to touch his body through fellowship with one another. We need to receive his personal touch through the ministering hands and hugs of our brothers and sisters. We need to witness his power as emotional wounds are healed, physical needs are met and spiritual hunger is fed. When we are anxious, paralyzed with fear, overshadowed by clouds of doubt and crippled by pain we need the healing touch of Christ in our lives. Brothers and sisters, that work must happen within our church families! We must be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to those in need especially those of the household of faith. We must be willing to give and we must be willing to receive. The fellowship of the body is one of our most powerful defenses against fear and uncertainty.
It is my profound hope that you are an active part of a church family that is able to minister to you when you are in need. Through his body on earth you can also bless others when they are in need. Paul instructs us in Galatians 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens and in order to make sure that happens, Jesus provided us with the blessing of his church. If you are not receiving the blessing of Christian fellowship he has provided for you, please seek out a church home and be comforted and strengthened. You are not meant to bear your burdens alone!
Next week, in the final installment of Do Not Fear, we will discuss the most powerful gift Jesus has given us for combating fear and uncertainty in our lives. Jesus reminds his disciples of this powerful gift in the last part of Luke 24 just before he leaves them for heaven.
Until next week,
Meet me at the intersection!