Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday's Word...DOUBT (Part 1 of 2) - 10/10/12

Today starts a new 2-week series on Doubt. Let me know what you're thinking in the comments below:

You remember when you first began to doubt the existence of the tooth fairy? When you started considering the validity of a fairy who collected little children's teeth? The whole concept is creepy. She sneaks into your room while you're asleep and takes teeth. Ever wonder why we believe this in the first place? Ah...yes, the cash. As the whole fairy thing begins to unravel, the idea of a giant bunny that delivers eggs every spring or a man in a red all gets sticky. 

When it comes to doubt, the only thing we know for certain is that everyone has it. We often talk about people who doubt as less spiritual or weak. We associate certainty with strong leaders. What if I never doubted. What if I never questioned the existence of the tooth fairy? While I might be an interesting person to talk to, you certainly wouldn't take me seriously. Doubt isn't always a bad thing. It can actually be a very good thing or a very destructive thing.

The Bible tells the story of a man who mastered learning to live in faith while dealing with doubt. His name is Nicodemus, and he is one of the few people, apart from the disciples, who the Gospels record interacting with Jesus throughout the course of Jesus’ ministry. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, so he was kind of a big deal in the Jewish community. If you think about the synagogues as a kind of private school for that time, the Pharisees would be like the honor students—the ones with the high SAT scores and off-the-charts GPAs.
Nic and Jesus had an interesting dialog in John chapter 3:

Nic: “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God” (John 3:2 NIV).

Jesus: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3 NIV).

At this point, Nic has to be confused. He was tracking with Jesus until this point. Here we begin to see his doubt:

Nic: “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4 NIV).

Somehow, it didn't seem to matter that his first encounter with Jesus left him with doubts. We know Nic continued to work through some things with his faith. The last time we hear from Nicodemus is in John 19, following Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus' disciples had all scattered in fear, the women were mourning and only two men remained to deal with the aftermath: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Nicodemus, an otherwise pretty important guy, took time off from a major Jewish holiday to come to the cross to prepare Jesus for His burial.

Somehow Nic managed to believe and to live in spite of his doubts. 

We have to figure out what we are going to do with the faith that we have. We don't know that Nicodemus ever got all of his questions answered. There's no book, chapter, and verse that says so. We have do determine what we are going to do with the doubt that we do have. 

Let us learn to embrace the doubt and allow it to lead us to belief.

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