“Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.” (John 20:8)
In this scene, Jesus has just risen from the tomb. Mary Magdalene has run to tell Peter and John, which sends them running to examine if her claims of the risen Christ are true.
There is much to be learned here from John’s response. First of all, here the Bible reinforces what wisdom already dictates: we should always examine the evidence of any supernatural claim. Peter and John both run to the tomb to test the story Mary has just told them. The key is this: they do it in faith; not in fear, and not in doubt. They examine the story because they hope it is true, not because their decision about Who Jesus Christ really is will hinge on what they find.
Once John gets to the tomb, he does not need any more evidence. The verse above tells us that he (1) saw the evidence, and (2) immediately believed. John had yet to see the risen Christ for himself; yet he was able to examine what evidence he already had and make a faith decision at that moment.
Each and every single one of us is in a similar situation. Unless you have been blessed with some miraculous encounter in which Jesus Christ Himself appeared to you in a vision or a dream, you have probably not seen Him face to face. Yet we are still required to make a decision as to what exactly we believe, based on the evidence we already have in front of us. This is not unfair; it is actually exactly what God asks us to do.
We have a complete account of the life of Jesus Christ from four different Gospel writers. On top of that, millions of believers have left an account of all the awe-inspiring things Jesus has done in their own lives. God does not leave open to us the option of waiting until we see Him face to face to make a decision as to whether or not we believe in Him; He asks us to use what evidence we already have in front of us and decide, here and now, to believe in His Son Jesus Christ. There is no reward for waiting to believe in Christ until we see Him, whether after we die or at His second coming. By then it is too late. Infinite reward, however, is reserved for those who make that choice while they are alive.
John’s response in the verse above is one of faith. Thomas, on the other hand, exhibited doubt. Jesus’ response to Doubting Thomas tells us all we need to know:
“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
If you want to be blessed, you have to make the choice to believe in Jesus Christ; here and now, with whatever evidence you already have in front of you.
-by Pastor Mike White