Is it a crime to struggle over a decision? Is there something immoral about dilemmas? You face them regularly, and I guess, like me, you have concluded that it is just a part of being human; not evil, just human.
I wonder if you have ever allowed yourself to believe that the Son of Man was also human in this way? Does something in you believe that he never struggled, or faced dilemmas?
I’m facing a dilemma as I write. Do I raise this question and risk irritating my readers, or leave it alone and risk missing some truth?
There is someone who encourages me to ask this question. His name is Thomas, and he was one of Jesus’ friends. Thomas struggled to believe, and had dilemmas in his soul.
Before you focus on his famous doubts, may I remind you that out of the mouth of Thomas came the highest recorded accolade that anyone spoke to Jesus in thirty-three years of human interaction.
Thomas knelt down and said: “my Lord and my God”. No one else said it so clearly. It’s a startling statement.
I’m not writing this series about Thomas, but about the Son of Man. So here’s my question: how did the baby from Bethlehem and the boy from Nazareth come to believe that he was, and is, Lord and God?
There is a young prince in the British Royal Family named George. From the second he was born, he was treated as a prince. Every second of his life, he will be treated as royalty. Everyone he meets will tell him that he is of royal blood, and affirm their belief in his status. It will not be hard for him to believe he is Prince George, heir to the throne. Everyone will tell him that. One day, people will call him King.
The Son of Man had the opposite experience. No one in his family, at his school, or in his neighborhood, told him he was a king. They did not believe it.
In fact, everyone he met would discourage him from any such thoughts, with various degrees of aggression.
He had to figure this out for himself. He had to go on a journey which ended with him being 100% sure of his own identity.
Do you think he had any struggles with this? Look at him in the wilderness: hungry, exhausted after a battle with darkness. Look at him in Cana: discouraging his own mother from pushing him to act. See him weep over Jerusalem and the death of a friend. Watch the drops of blood trickle down his forehead as he prayed, deserted by his friends.
I suggest to you, that his patience, his gentleness, and even his determined challenge in relation to Thomas, was because he saw in front of him a man who had been on a journey – one which ended with him being sure that Jesus of Nazareth was Lord and God.
The Son of Man himself had been on this same journey, only magnified by a thousand levels of intensity.
Hidden in this journey is a golden truth for your working week. To fulfill your mission in life, you need to know who you are. Out of your identity will come your achievement.
The Son of Man’s clarity over his identity, enabled him to bring others to clarity.
The episode concludes with a beatitude. Thomas saw, and having seen, he believed. Thomas, like you and me, was called to help others; without seeing, yet to believe. Those who know who they are in relation to the Son of Man, and in relation to their own identity, will find themselves empowered to achieve.
It’s still a struggle, a dilemma, and a journey. But it ends with a startling revelation, and a blessing.
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
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