Day 218: Why Seeing Isn’t Believing

Luke 24:36-44

As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be to you.”

But they were terrified and filled with fear, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

He said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is truly me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they still didn’t believe for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”

They gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. He took them, and ate in front of them. He said to them, “This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled.”

One of the amazing things about the Creationism vs. Evolutionism debate is that both sides have the same evidence. In other words, both sides are “seeing” the same thing. Just because we see something, doesn’t mean that we will interpret it accurately. Our belief system actually causes us to interpret what we see. There really isn’t any such thing as simply seeing and believing because we already believe certain things before we look and what we believe causes us to comprehend the meaning of the things we see whether or not that interpretation is an accurate one. Even in children, existing ideas can make the real meaning of what is observed unclear.

When Jesus appeared before His disciples here, He was immediately faced with this problem. Instead of thinking: “Jesus returned from the dead just as He said He would,” they “supposed that they had seen a spirit.” So, here we have the strange case in which the disciples were seeing a real physical person and assuming that they were actually seeing a ghost. In this case, they assumed the supernatural instead of the physical! It is important for us to recognize that just seeing or learning about something doesn’t mean that the truth is understood. God must do work inside of us in order for us to challenge our existing ideas and beliefs. His word is powerful in that it is able to do this when the Holy Spirit makes it clear.

Apologetics: Notice that Jesus takes the time and makes the effort to provide evidence for the reality of the resurrection. This serves as an example to us. We should also provide physical evidence for the things that we believe as Christians. Even though faith is what God desires, Jesus sets the example that we should be ready to encourage reasoning and not to discourage it. Our faith should be an intelligent one. Jesus doesn’t ask for an emptying of the mind but that the mind should be convinced of the truth.

Philosophy: This record provides a powerful blow against the heresy of Gnosticism. I understand that the Gnostics and others believe that Jesus didn’t actually raise up from the dead physically, but was merely a spirit or a phantom. Luke records that Jesus went to great lengths here to demonstrate the physical nature of His resurrection. This passage of Holy Scripture should not be ignored and should make it clear that the ideas of the Gnostics are wrong.