The problem of skeptical disbelief…

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Luke 24:36 While (Jesus’ disciples) were talking about (Jesus’ alleged appearance to another group of disciples), Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

Jesus’ core disciples had been close with him for over three years before his death and resurrection. They had maximum access to him. They had a front row seat to the incredible works he accomplished in the name of the Kingdom of God, only some of which are recorded in scripture. Despite this, Jesus’ disciples struggled to believe in critical moments:

41 While in their joy they (the disciples) were disbelieving and still wondering…

I admit this may be my favorite part of the passage. Were the disciples thrilled to see Jesus? Yes. Were they crystal clear on what was going on? No. If these people, who knew Jesus personally, struggled with faith – then it’s no wonder we struggle as well.

Today I’ll be preaching at the church I lead in suburban Dallas on the topic of forgiveness, as part of a sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. In part, I’ll be teaching on the enemy’s ways of manipulating people into unforgiveness. Why will this be a challenge for some?

Many of our people have been taught to dismiss things such as Satan, angels, demons, and other supernatural beings as myth or superstition. The problem is – scripture is full of teaching on such beings from start to finish. We can believe that Jesus was tempted by Satan, but resist the idea that we are tempted as well.

And I certainly don’t pretent to have complete understanding of these things either, but I am called to teach and share what I do know – what I have seen and experienced with my own eyes. I appreciate your prayers for people to receive difficult truth today.

Gracious God, your ways are mysterious and downright difficult sometimes. Our existing ways of thinking get in our way. Give us grace to know the spiritual realities you reveal in scripture, and to embrace them as true. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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