Hearing Leads to Salvation
Some people claim that seeing is believing. Some, like Thomas, however, refuse to believe in Jesus until they have an opportunity to meet the Lord face to face (John 20:24-29).
Thomas is not the only apostle to struggle with unbelief. All the apostles doubt the reports of Jesus’ resurrection until they see Him with their own eyes. Thomas, however, demands more than the rest. Regardless of the integrity and united testimony of his fellow-apostles, Thomas will not believe that Jesus lives unless he can put his finger in the nail holes and his hand into His wounded side (John 20:24). Who can blame him? Everyone knows that dead people stay dead.
But this view is inconsistent. The disciples have previously seen Jesus raise Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5), the widow’s son (Lk.7), and most recently the dramatic resurrection of Lazarus (Jn.11). When Jesus enters the equation, not all dead people stay dead.
Eight days after His resurrection, Jesus reappears – this time in the presence of Thomas. “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’” Thomas answers with unforgettable words: “My Lord and my God!” The Lord’s reply embraces all men: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Jesus blesses all who accept the testimony of credible eyewitnesses. We do not have to see Jesus to believe, but we must believe the testimony of the apostles. Consider John’s reason for writing his gospel: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).
John is not the only apostle who tells us that the gospel produces faith in Jesus. “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Jesus prays for His apostles (John 17:18), and then adds, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word…” (verse 20). This prayer reaches you and me.
The parable of the sower identifies the seed as the word of God (Luke 8:11). “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” The devil knows all too well that the word produces faith.
Peter affirms the same truth when he explains why Cornelius, a Gentile, sends for him: “And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved’ (Acts 11:13-14). In Jerusalem, Peter describes the effect of this visit to a Gentile household: “…And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe’” (Acts 15:6-7). Since faith comes by hearing the word, Peter had to bring the gospel so that Cornelius could believe.
The plan is very simple: an open mind coupled with the open Bible produces faith.
- Rick Duggin
Click HERE to read what the Bible says about belief.