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Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

The Christian writer and preacher, Michael Ramsden, tells the story of a psychiatrist who’s been transferred to a different wing in his hospital and is meeting his new patients for the first time. One patient seems particularly disturbed and the doctor asks him, ‘Excuse me, just who do you think you are?’, to which the man replies, ‘Napoleon’. ‘That’s very interesting’, says the doctor, ‘Who told you that you are Napoleon?’ ‘God told me’, replies the man, at which point the patient in the next bed says, ‘I most certainly did not!’

A psychiatric hospital might be the very place where you would find a person who would claim to be God. Yet this is the very claim that Jesus makes for himself over and over again. It was the kind of claim for which the religious leaders of his day wanted to stone him to death for his outrageous blasphemy. You could almost forgive them for their reaction - after all, what kind of man goes around claiming such a thing about himself? Well, somebody with serious psychiatric problems, that’s who!

But the problem is that Jesus doesn’t come over as such a person. He didn’t then, and he doesn’t now. On the contrary, he seems eminently sensible, wise and grounded - his teachings not only admirable but inspirational. Was he a liar then? Somebody who knew he wasn’t divine but went around claiming he was just so that he could dupe gullible people into following him? But that doesn’t ring true either. Not only did his life and lifestyle match up to the highest standards of scrutiny, but it was clear to everyone that he held the word of God in the utmost respect and demonstrated true devotion to the person of God himself. If he was a religious con-man or liar he had nothing to offer his followers in this life, he gained no prosperity or status of any kind through it, and managed only to get himself executed at the age of about thirty-three. So maybe, just maybe, he was telling the truth all along.

Maybe he really was the Son of God, sent into this world by his divine Father to be the Saviour of a lost and broken race estranged from God by their sins and moral failings. His claims, properly reflected on and understood, tied in exactly with what the Old Testament Scriptures and prophecies said about the coming Messiah. And then he backed up his life and teachings with his miracles - demonstrating his power over nature, over disease and ultimately, through his resurrection, over death itself. For those who demand irrefutable proof of these things, no answer will ever seem good enough.

For those who are willing to study the evidence that convinced many folk at the time, and has convinced millions and millions ever since, the ultimate answers regarding life, death and eternal life are to be found in the greatest, most truthful, most sane man who ever lived. His name is Jesus and he can still be met and known today in 2016. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (Jesus, in John 20:29)

Murdo Macleod
Nairn Free Church