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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: December 21, 2023

Sometimes unbelief is not so much a rejection of what happened but the fear of what comes next. It’s not so much that people intellectually reject an event taking place. It’s that they’re afraid of how things will change if indeed that event took place. They’re afraid of that ramifications of that thing being true, so they doubt the truth as a way to defend themselves.

This is something we see in the doubt of St. Thomas. Jesus had repeatedly predicted His resurrection. Why doesn’t Thomas believe it when his fellow disciples tell him that their Lord is risen? Well, like the other men, Thomas fled from his Lord in Christ’s hour of need. He abandoned the one to whom he should have been faithful. And then, for some cruel reason, Jesus chose to appear to His disciples at a time when Thomas wasn’t there? They get this honor and peace and joy and he doesn’t? This risen Son of God who has every right to be angry at all of his apostles forgives and loves them all except Thomas? “No,” Thomas tells himself. “That’s not acceptable. Until I see it with my own eyes, until I get what you all got, I won’t believe.”

So Jesus gives Thomas what he asks for, inviting him to touch the holy wounds of His risen flesh. And Thomas believes, but Jesus tells us that there is a greater blessing for those who believe without seeing. So grab that greater blessing. Cast aside your fear and believe that Christ is risen.

Why do you doubt? What drives your skepticism about the Resurrection of our Lord? Is it because you genuinely don’t believe that the event happened? Or is it that, like Thomas, you fear the ramifications? If Christ is risen, and yet you lived as though He rotted in the tomb, how could He love you? If Christ is risen, and He’s given peace to so many others, but you still struggle with fear and anxiety, how can you believe that God accepts you?

Don’t doubt. Don’t despair. Don’t fear what comes next. Because Jesus has told you what comes next. He rose to give you peace. He rose to give you victory, to clothe you in His righteousness and welcome you into His kingdom. He rose to make His Father your Father and His God your God. Christ loves you. He cherishes you. He may leave you to feel the weight of some burdens in this life in order to refine and strengthen you, but as you carry that weight, He will carry you. Don’t be afraid. Christ is risen and the ramifications of this are eternal glory for you.

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