Jesus Meets A Realist
By Jack Hayford
The King's Seminary
CBN.com -- I'd Iike to know God," the young man told me, "but I don't know how." His name was Phil, and he told me that even though he wanted to believe,
he really didn't believe.
"That's OK, Phil," I told him. "Don't worry about that. But let me
suggest something here. Would you be willing to pray a prayer with me?"
"I don't know if I can…."
That's all right. I'll tell you what to say."
So I prayed, and Phil (unsure but willing) repeated after me: "God,
I don't even know if You're there. But I do ask You this, sincerely
from my heart, that if You will somehow show Yourself to me, I'll serve
You with all my heart."
Phil said thank-you and went on his way.
That same evening he walked into a restaurant by himself, was seated,
and started scanning the menu. A few minutes later another man walked
in and took a seat near Phil. They began to talk, and Phil noticed that
the man was carrying a Bible.
"That's strange," he said.
"What's strange?" the man asked.
"Well, it's strange that you would walk into this restaurant and sit
down here with that Bible. Just a couple of hours ago I prayed a prayer.
I said, 'God, if You're real, please show Yourself to me. It makes me
a little nervous to think that— maybe—that's what you're
The man not only had a Bible, he had a testimony He took the opportunity
to tell Phil about his relationship with Jesus Christ. Phil still wasn't
ready to make a decision. It all seemed too strange. But after a few
days of thinking about it, he made up his mind. He gave his life to
Jesus has a way of meeting people where they are. Jesus met Phil where
he was, in his doubt and unbelief. And that's exactly where he met Thomas,
To this day we call him "Doubting Thomas." But he was really just a
tight-fisted realist. Hard-nosed. Naturally skeptical. Cautious. The
type of individual that gives salespeople fits. No one ever accused
Thomas of being from Missouri, but that "show me" attitude was certainly
When Jesus told the disciples they were headed back to Judea at one
point in His ministry, Thomas was at his pessimistic but loyal best:
Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to hisfellow disciples, "Let
us also go, that we may die with Him."(John 11:16)
Some time later, when Jesus began explaining some deep spiritual realities
at the Last Supper, it was Thomas who wanted to bnng it all down to
a flat, practical, bottom line.
Jesus said: "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not
so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I
go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to
Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know,
and the way you know." (John 14:2-4)
I can just visualize Thomas holding up his hand at this point and saying,
"Lord, wait a minute here!" Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know
where You are going, and how can we know the way?" (v. 5)
Thomas wanted to get it straight. He wanted it in plain Aramaic. He
wanted to know the plan. He wanted to see it on a chart and a map.
The night of the Resurrection Thomas wasn't present when the other
ten disciples met and spoke with their risen Lord.
Thomas heard the report—verified by ten of his close colleagues
—but refused to "get his hopes up" until he had further evidence.
He told his friends: "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails,
and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into
His side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)
Just a week later the risen Jesus Christ hand-delivered that evidence
to Thomas in the same upper room where He had appeared before.
Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said
"Peace to you!" 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."
And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:26-28)
This is an encounter between the squint-eyed realist and the Ultimate
Pragmatist, because Jesus is very practical. I am weary with the portrayals
that paint anything to do with God, Jesus, and the Bible as some kind
of ethereal, mystical, poetic sort of impractical concept that you can't
isolate and get your hands on.
Jesus was willing to meet Thomas exactly where he was. Realist to realist.
"Put your hand here, Thomas. Put your finger here. Touch Me. Stop wavering
in unbelief and get on board!"
Again and again I've seen the hand of God reaching into the most practical
details of His children's circumstances. I've seen Him meet men and
women in their doubt and perplexity. I've seen Him answer the specific
prayers of honest seekers. The Lord says to us, "I know the things you
have questions about and doubts about, and I will address them directly
if you'll ask Me to."
He's ready to meet you right where you are—wherever you are—if
you will reach out your hand and put it into His outstretched hand.
When you think about it, He didn't only meet us halfway, He came all
the way from heaven to earth to prove and demonstrate His great love.
That's evidence enough, friend.
Even if you're from Missouri.
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Taken from Glorious Morning!:
An Invitation to Easter Praise.
Copyright 2000 by Jack Hayford.Used with permission.
Dr. Jack W. Hayford
is the senior pastor of The Church On The Way, the First Foursquare
Church of Van Nuys, California, and the author of many successful
books, including Come...and Behold Him!, The Beauty
of Spiritual Language and The Heart of Praise. He
also has composed over four hundred songs, hymns, and other
musical works, including the widely sung "Majesty."
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