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Lost Crusader # 222 Seeing and Believing

“Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.”  ~John 20:8


I resisted titling this “seeing is believing” even though that is how the old saying goes. There are two reasons for that decision. One is that it is not true. The other reason is because that is not what happened.


As far as I can tell from the narrative, on its own merit, the sight of the empty tomb inspired belief in no one until John came along. A number of women who followed Jesus had taken in the sight, as had a guard detail, and most importantly of all the Sanhedrin.


Granted, the Council is not specifically mentioned in scripture as being present at the tomb. However, are we to believe that the ones who went to such lengths to crucify Jesus, and whose position and power depended on Him staying dead did not go have a look? The entire Messiah business would be over simply by producing the body. Unless they were complete fools, the Sanhedrin had the city turned upside down before concocting the ridiculous story they fed the Romans.

Everyone involved knew something strange had happened. Other than those assigned to guard the tomb, everyone assumed it was graverobbing—that’s the belief engendered by the sight of the empty tomb. Wrong though it was, and with Jesus’ testimony to the contrary, that is what people who saw believed.


John seems to have bypassed the logic the rest of the witnesses rushed to in favor of the supernatural explanation Jesus provided before He was crucified. That is, John sought understanding for what he saw from the words Jesus had spoken. The significance of the empty tomb was not just that Jesus was missing, but that He was missing in the words of the angel—as he said.


So, what happened to John to explain his reaction? Faith, faith happened. The writer of Hebrews said that through faith we understand our world, not what our senses tell us but what God has told us. Faith hears God's voice, considers the message, and acts to test the message. The tested message is the foundation of belief.


John looked into the tomb, thought about it a moment, followed Peter inside, and came to the simplest explanation. “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay.”

Faith in that confirmed word has changed the world, but not as much as it has changed those who look into Jesus, see, and believe.


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