Friday, September 9, 2016

Day 151 - Luke 24:36-53 & Psalm 147 - Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Today's Reading: Luke 24:36-53 & Psalm 147

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Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

"Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” - Luke 24:36-39, ESV

After numerous eye-witness reports of the resurrection from both women and men, the disciples of Jesus still doubted. They still questioned in their hearts. Even when He Himself came and stood among them. they were "frightened and thought they saw a spirit."

Why are we so quick to doubt and so slow to believe?

Jesus gave His disciples a gentle rebuke, in the form of a question: "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" And then, in gentle compassion, He offered them further proof that He was not a ghost or a spirit: "Touch me, and see. . . Have you anything here to eat?" 

"a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench" - Isaiah 42:3, ESV

Not only did the Lord offer them physical proof to satisfy their doubting hearts, but He also explained the Scriptures to them to satisfy their questioning and confused minds. "Then he said to them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." (vv. 44-45) 

When we doubt, we need to turn two places with our questions: To the Lord in prayer and to His word in study. He is gentle and compassionate. He is wise and patient. He will comfort our hearts, if we earnestly seek Him. He will enlighten our minds by His Holy Spirit to solidify our understanding of the truth. 

Peter, who was one of those doubting and questioning disciples on that first Easter, later wrote this to help reassure us:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts - 2 Peter 1:16-19, ESV

Prayer Based on Psalm 147:

Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to You, our God;
    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
You, O Lord, build up Your people;
    You gather Your outcasts by Your grace.
You heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
You determine the number of the stars;
    You give to all of them their names.
Great are You, O Lord, and abundant in power;
    Your understanding is beyond measure.
You, Lord, lift up the humble;
    You cast the wicked to the ground.

We sing to You with thanksgiving!
You cover the heavens with clouds;
    You prepare rain for the earth;
    You make grass grow on the hills.
You give to the beasts their food,
    and to the young ravens that cry.
Your delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor is Your pleasure in the legs of a man,
but You takes pleasure in those who fear You,
    in those who hope in Your steadfast love.

We give Your praise, O Lord!
For You strengthen the defenses of Your people;
    You bless Your children within Your church.
You sends out Your command to the earth;
    Your word runs swiftly.
You give snow like wool;
    You scatter frost like ashes.
You hurl down Your crystals of ice like crumbs;
    who can stand before Your cold?
You sends out Your word and melt them;
    You make Your wind blow and the waters flow.
You declare Your word to Your people,
    Your statutes and rules to Your church.
You have not dealt thus with any other group of people;
    they do not know Your judgments.
Praise the Lord!

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