Are you an “evidence” kind of person? I know I am. I need to see, touch, smell and hear the whole kit and caboodle before I’m ready to plunge in with my faith.
Some of you can believe without seeing, and I applaud you for that. But I live by the adage that President Ronald Reagan used frequently when it came to nuclear arms negotiations with the Soviet Union: “Trust, but verify.”
Which means, of course, that it is OK to have a positive belief in a claim or promise, but it is always good to back it up with some substantiation, right?
Do you know who else was a “trust, but verify” kind of guy? The Apostle Peter—although he didn’t start out that way. In fact, I would say he was a “no holds barred” free-for-all kinda fellow who spoke his mind and blazed his own trail until…
Until he failed miserably:
Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.”
But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed (John 18:25-27).
Peter’s boldness and faith pretty much evaporated through the course of that fateful night. His denial of Jesus and the certainty of the crucifixion crushed him and convinced him that following Christ had been nothing more than an exercise in foolishness. So he decided to just resign himself back to the simple life of a fisherman until…
Until he witnessed the impossible:
Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home (John 20:1-10, The Message).
According to Jewish tradition, you could not visit the grave of a loved one on the Sabbath (Saturday), so the very first thing Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to visit Jesus’ grave— and what she found was quite unexpected, to say the least! But instead of going into the tomb because she thought the body was stolen and there might be grave robbers still about, she ran to tell Peter and John. After a quick sprint to the gravesite, they saw the “linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.”
Why was this “kerchief” folded up separate by itself? Why did Jesus take the time to tidy up his grave clothes when He came back from the dead?
Perhaps because He knew Peter had to see to believe!
Some Bible historians theorize that this “kerchief” was no ordinary cloth. Their theory suggests that this might have been Jesus’ “tallit,” or prayer shawl, that Jewish men took with them their entire lives. “Tallit” means “little tent,” so it was used during prayer and other sacred times. In order for folks to keep track of their tallit, they folded it in a very unique and particular manner.
Perhaps Jesus left His tallit as evidence for Peter and John so they would know that His body wasn’t stolen! There is no way the Romans (or anyone else for that matter) could have folded it in that certain way, and when Peter and John saw that it would have helped them “believe.”
Perhaps you are in a difficult spot right now with your faith. Maybe, like Peter, you have denied Jesus and failed beyond your worst nightmare—and right now you need to renew your trust in the truth that Jesus loves you.
If that is the case, let this Easter season remind you that Jesus knows exactly what evidence you need to restore your trust in His love for you. It may feel like the darkest of times, but know that just around the corner are an empty tomb and a risen Savior who demonstrated His immense love for you through His death and resurrection!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This Easter Season, remember that Jesus has provided all the evidence you need to believe that He loves you and has called you to serve Him in advancing His Cause of making disciples!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, thank You for sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins and coming back from the dead to save us. Thank you also for all the evidences of Your love that we see every day. Help us to be bold in sharing our faith this Easter season.
Read: 2 Corinthians 10:4. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
Get: Jesus: Dead or Alive. Wondering what proof there is that Jesus actually rose again. Check out this powerful Youth Group 2 Go downloadable lesson on the resurrection.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to use this Soul Fuel as a bible study with your students this week? Copy and text them the following: “Are you the type of person who needs more evidence to believe? You’re not alone. Read this week’s devo about a couple of Jesus’ disciples who needed to see to believe and what they saw: http://hubs.ly/y0Fm5j0”
Big Idea: Jesus has left us an abundance of evidence so we can believe in Him, trust in His love for us and serve Him.
Key Scripture: John 20:1-10
- Are you a “seeing is believing” person? Why or why not?
- How would you react if you found Jesus’ tomb empty?
- What evidences has Jesus given you of His unconditional love for you?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?