Ever felt like you needed a miracle? Felt like you couldn’t survive another day without a miracle? Maybe I can’t promise you that miracle, the one you are desperately hoping for, but there is a miracle I can promise you. I can promise you that if you believe that Jesus was who he said he was and did what he said he would do (like conquer death by rising from the grave on the third day), then you will be born again and have eternal life. And if that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is! Thank Him if you have already experienced this miracle. And if you have not, may this be the Easter that you do. Then you will not only be able to celebrate Jesus’ glorious resurrection from physical death, along with fellow Christians around the world, but also your own resurrection from something much worse than physical death: what the Bible refers to as spiritual death.

The apostle Thomas initially doubted Jesus’ resurrection. When the other apostles first told him about it, he doubted. Why did he doubt? Was he by nature a doubting or skeptical person? Some people have thought so and as a result Thomas has gone down in history as “Doubting Thomas.” But this is a bum rap! He did not doubt because he was by nature doubtful or skeptical. He doubted because he was a normal person, by which I mean a sane and rational person. But something (or rather Someone) changed his mind. What changed Thomas’s mind was Jesus, whom Thomas saw alive and well exactly one week after Jesus had been crucified, dead, and buried. What Thomas’s friends couldn’t convince him of, hard as they might have tried, Jesus could. And so “Doubting Thomas” became “Believing Thomas.” Clearly in coming to faith in the way that he did Thomas had an advantage over us today. He had a resurrection appearance of Jesus that removed all doubt. But we are not entirely without our own advantages. For we have something today that Thomas did not have. We have the inspired New Testament and, in particular, we have the Gospel of John.

So, if you are a person who would only believe in Jesus if He appeared to you visibly in order to personally convince you that He conquered death and was the Son of God and your Savior, or if you know anybody who fits that description, then I have some good news. No, I can’t promise you a personal resurrection appearance of Jesus. But I can promise you the next best thing. The good news is that the Gospel of John specifically says that it was written so that you today, without the benefit of a personal resurrection appearance of Jesus, could come to the same conclusion and the same faith that Thomas came to two thousand years ago: that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you would have eternal life in His name (see John 20:31). As far as saving faith is concerned, the Gospel of John claims that it is equivalent to a resurrection appearance of Jesus in its ability to inspire saving faith in Jesus. The flip-side of this would also then seem to be true. Namely, that if someone were to carefully read the Gospel of John and not believe in Jesus, then they likely wouldn’t have believed in Him even if He had appeared to them personally. Just like the many people in the first century who saw Him personally during His three year earthly ministry and still did not believe.

The Gospel of John makes quite a bold claim and challenge to any open-minded reader. Might you possibly be such a reader? Are you bold enough, or desperate enough, to take the Gospel of John challenge? If so, there is no better time than now to read the Gospel of John. For Easter is coming. And He is risen! He is risen indeed! May this be your year of believing in that miracle, and receiving your own miracle in return.

I close with the classic words of a great Christian author, theologian, playwright, apologist, and friend of C.S. Lewis from the last century, most famous today for her excellent Lord Peter Wimsey detective stories:

“It is the dogma that is the drama—not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death—but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that a man might be glad to believe.” (Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Dogma is the Drama” [1939]).