To one degree or another we all venture into the valley. At one point or another we all need a plan to escape it. May I share mine? Those Sunday morning sessions of second-guessing dissipate quickly these days thanks to a small masterpiece, a wellspring of faith bubbling in the final pages of Luke’s gospel. The physician-turned-historian dedicated his last chapter to answering one question: how does Christ respond when we doubt him?
He takes us to the Upper Room in Jerusalem. It’s Sunday morning following Friday’s crucifixion. Jesus’ followers had gathered, not to change the world, but to escape it; not as gospel raconteurs, but as scared rabbits. They’d buried their hopes with the carpenter’s corpse. You’d have found more courage in a chicken coop and backbone in a jellyfish. Fearless faith? Not here. Search the bearded faces of these men for a glint of resolve, a hint of courage—you’ll come up empty.
One look at the bright faces of the females, however, and your heart will leap with theirs. According to Luke they exploded into the room like the sunrise, announcing a Jesus-sighting.
[The women] rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. (Luke 24:9–11 NLT)
Periodic doubters of Christ, take note and take heart. The charter followers of Christ had doubts too. But Christ refused to leave them alone with their questions. He, as it turned out, was anything but dead and buried. When he spotted two of the disciples trudging toward a village called Emmaus,
Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. (vv. 15–17 NIV)
For this assignment angels wouldn’t do, an emissary wouldn’t suffice, an army of heaven’s best soldiers wouldn’t be sent. Jesus himself came to the rescue.
Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).
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