I had lunch with a young man not long ago who nursed serious doubts about the claims of Jesus.
Back and forth we talked. He raised objections. I offered answers.
After each exchange, he would smile and shake his head and say, “I just can’t believe that’s true.”
“What if I answered all of your questions to your satisfaction?” I asked. “Would you believe in Jesus then?” His answer surprised me.
He thought for a moment, and then looked me in the eye. “No, I wouldn’t.”
The Real Problem
Many people demand evidence for truth they never intend to accept. Their problem isn’t a lack of truth, but a suppression of it (Romans 1:18-20).
Although God has no problem proving Himself, He knows that proof only goes so far. For when proof removes people’s excuses, they must then respond to the truth with belief.
These kinds of doubts are nothing new. Nineteenth-century archaeologist William Ramsay began his career with the general assumption that the book of Acts contained careless, geographical errors written by someone ignorant of Asia Minor. However, after Ramsay traveled throughout Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), he altered his position. He found the geography presented in Acts accurate in every detail—and he believed.
“You may press the words of Luke in a degree far beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny.” —William Ramsay
“Unless I see,” said doubting Thomas, “I will not believe” (John 20:24-31). Thomas wasn’t the only skeptic in the bunch.
Many, if not most, of Jesus’ disciples struggled with doubts and uncertainty—even after the resurrection. Jesus did all He could to affirm their faith and dispel their doubts (Matthew 28:17-20; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 1:3).
But the believing part He left up to them . . . just as He does with us.
What about Our Own Skepticism?
Do you ever find yourself waiting for God to prove something He has already promised? What for? (Read that again.)
Hasn’t God already proven Himself faithful in your life every day of every year, even during those times of deepest doubts and discouragements?
While proof may help our faith along, it never believes for us. Whether we face doubts about the geography of Acts, the provision for our groceries or the salvation of our souls, our responsibility remains the same: we must respond to the truth God has revealed by believing it.
We can save ourselves a lot of time (and grief) if we will just believe right now what God will ultimately prove.
I love Jesus’ words to Thomas, because they are His words to us as well:
“Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).
(I have also posted a list of recommended resources for Christian apologetics.)
Question: What doubts do you have that answers alone would dispel? Is the issue deeper than knowledge alone? Please leave your comment.