” Evangelism is the key to solving our problems”
As a protestant Christian, I was raised on that phrase. I knew in my heart that if I just told people about Jesus, they would come running, gleefully in to His arms. The exuberance and joy would flood the streets, a third great awakening, Azuza Street revival is around the corner. I believe this teaching is not false, not for everybody. For many people, the friends they have before they get saved come to know Christ by watching his impact on them, for others it’s simply the words “you are forgiven” which excite their spirit to the realization of Christ, and for others it is actually our works.
When Christ died and rose again, he could have traveled right back to heaven, to the throne entitled to Him by the Father, after all, his followers believed. After watching Christ in the flesh perform miracles, forgive sinners, outwit scholars and theologians, they had to know that what he said would come to fruition: everything else had
Thomas wouldn’t believe in the miracle. Jesus had died. The end. No miracle, no healing, no love. For Thomas, what was left? He had physically watched miracles occur. He loved Christ as much as any man, but he desired physical proof, an actual work before he would believe. Christ gave it to him. Christ could have told peter “Let Thomas know I’m back, and that he just needs to take your word for it because you’re clearly a happier person.” but he didn’t. He could have told Thomas “I’m going to die, and you’re just gonna have to believe, because if you don’t, you’re a goner!” but he didn’t.
Thomas wanted a work of grace in his life, and Christ gave it to him. Jesus did not have to show Thomas anything. He didn’t have to show him his hands, he didn’t have to show him his face, he is God. But he did it any way.
We live in a doubting Thomas age, at least in the United States. When asked what religion people subscribe to, even with Atheism and Agnosticism as options, they more frequently say “none”. Ask a “none” why they don’t believe in anything, and they’ll cite disunity among religions (my friends cite denominational divides more frequently than anything), and a lack of works present from the Church. How can there be a God when there are 15 churches in town, and a homeless man just froze to death in the park last night? When there are 2 mega churches in the tri-county area and 6 public schools are still using 10 year old books? When there are 27,862 Christians in this county alone, and a domestic abuse shelter just closed down because of a lack of staffing? Christ didn’t heal a blind man because Jesus’ salvation depended on it, but because the blind man’s did. Jesus didn’t feed 5000 people because his work built up mansions in heaven for himself, but because it built bridges to heaven for those people. He loved because his mission was to save, and even though he could have said “I am the messiah, you better just believe in me because Scripture says so, and the Torah should be evidence enough for you.”, he still performed works.
Do I dare think he expects less from me?
Hold fast to faith, uplift all others in hope, be charitable in grace