Seeing is believing.
At least sometimes it is. The Pharisees and teachers of the law saw all the miracles Jesus performed and they still didn’t believe. They saw Lazarus alive after he had died and they plotted to kill him because people were believing in Jesus because of it. The main problem: They didn’t want to believe. And as long as you don’t want to believe, you can explain away anything.
Thomas, on the other hand, wanted to believe. But his head would not allow what his heart wanted to be true, and so he told the other disciples,
Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it. (25)
So when Jesus showed up for a second time in the midst of a locked room, I imagine he smiled at Thomas’ astonished face as he said,
Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. (27)
My Lord and my God! (28)
Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (29)
In other words, you only believe because you see. But true blessing comes when you believe having not seen.
It was the blessing that Abraham received, who trusted God and left everything behind, not even knowing where he was going, but believing that God would do what he had promised. It was the blessing that Noah received by building a huge boat because God told him a flood was coming. It was the blessing that David received, trusting that God would make him king, and never trying to seize the throne with his own hands. It was the blessing Mary received by believing the angel who said she would become pregnant with God’s Son. It is the blessing that people all throughout history have received all the way down to us.
But it is not a blind belief. We see Christ in the prophets who predicted numerous things about him hundreds of years before he was born.
We see Christ through the experiences of those who actually met him face to face and recorded all that happened. John wrote,
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (30-31)
We see Christ in the experiences of those throughout church history who have encountered him in their lives, people like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.
We see Christ in the lives of those around us today, whom God has changed and transformed through the gospel.
And we see him as we ourselves encounter Christ, and see his work in our lives.
But it all starts with one choice. To say, “Lord Jesus, though I have never seen you with my own eyes, yet I believe.” And as we follow him, walking in trust and obedience to him, he will reveal himself to us more and more. And we will find blessing.
Peter puts it this way,
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)