Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Title: Blessed Are Those Who Believe Without Seeing!
By: Pastor Isaac Yim

Text: John 20:24-29
Wishing all our readers a Blessed and Meaningful Chinese New Year! From all of us in the DAILY DEVOTION TEAM of Pantai Baptist Church. Pastor Isaac Yim initiated this ministry from the first day of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which was implemented on 18 March 2020. The purpose is to connect daily with every member of the church. These daily devotions began in English and later there was a request to have them translated into Chinese. A few churches have requested for their daily use for their congregations. Members of the church helped share them with family and friends, who in turn have passed them further along to their families and friends. We do not know the exact number of people and countries these daily devotions have gone to. But we know for a fact that when God’s Word goes out, it will never return void. We appreciate that many of you have written to share your blessings from these devotions. We are most happy that some of you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Saviour. We encourage you to join our church or any Bible believing church near you. If you need personal help, please get in touch with anyone of us. We will be available to walk with you in this wonderful journey of living the new life in Christ.

Many of us would have missed our traditional Chinese New Year reunion this year. Thank God for the smart phone; we can still celebrate the reunion in front of a computer screen or phone. But it is quite different when you can touch, feel, smell, taste and hear; when you can be physically present at the reunion. Our children would prefer the real angpows rather than the virtual ones.

The Bible writes about the first reunion of Jesus with the disciples after His resurrection. All were there except Thomas. Doubting Thomas was missing during the first Easter when Jesus was with the ten disciples. These disciples were all excited to have seen Jesus for the first time after His resurrection. Thomas had missed it. He was adamant in his stand, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” (John 20:25). Thomas’ unyielding attitude is clearly demonstrated here, a situation wherein believing without seeing is unthinkable.

In a sense, in John 20:24-29, seeing is believing for at least ten of the disciples. They experienced great joy. But there is a clear declaration by Jesus, “Blessed are those who have not seen and (yet) have believed.” This beatitude changes the situation totally. You can be greatly blessed even if you have not seen Jesus. A week later, all the disciples were together in one place behind closed doors. All of a sudden Jesus was in their midst. Jesus reached out to Thomas lovingly, in the exact words of Thomas. He invited Thomas to use his finger to touch the nail print on His hand and his hand to touch His side. He continued to speak to Thomas, “Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Seeing is believing about the resurrection of Jesus, is only limited to the apostolic generation. The writer of the Gospel of John was keenly aware of this. Yet, the very intention of the Gospel of John was written to all the generations to come, so that they can believe in Jesus without seeing or having the opportunity to touch Him. It is to such people Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

This reminds me of my childhood experience during Chinese New Year. In non-Christian homes parents get up early in the morning to pray to the god of heaven and offer sacrifices to their ancestors before the ancestor tablet. Coming from a Christian home, my father used to tell me stories of my ancestors. He would show me very old photos of my grandparents, and share with me stories of great grandparents, none of whom I had ever met. I cannot remember their names except the name of my paternal grandfather. I thank God for my heritage. On one occasion, I was witnessing to a classmate. He flatly told me that I was silly to believe in Jesus. It is just a story. How do you know there is such a person? As a 15-year-old, all I could say was that my father told me I have great grandparents and grandparents in China. I never doubted their existence. My dear friends, believing is seeing. I pray during this Chinese New Year you will believe in Jesus. May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the truth. The truth who is Jesus will set you free. You are free indeed.

The Gospel writer John did not add anything more beyond this great confession of faith of Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” He knew extremely well that the people who have believed without having seen the Lord, were already experiencing the blessedness that Jesus has promised. Many things that were difficult to believe in the past, have become believable. In matters of faith, when you believe, you see.

Prayer for today

Lord Jesus, Thank You for the Chinese New Year! We lift all the Chinese people in the world to You. Many Chinese around the world still do not know You. We pray for our immediate family members and close friends who do not know You. We pray that their honest doubt will lead them to the truth of who Jesus is. The One who was dead is alive! This Jesus who was crucified has become our Lord.

Thank You, Lord, as many who have received You, have become children of God. Help us to trust You. Help us to stay faithful by following the leadership of the Holy Spirit and serve You with the gifts You have so graciously given us for the Glory of God and the benefit of man.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

每日灵粮
星期二, 2021年2月16日
标题:那没有看见就信的有福了!
作者:严以撒牧师
翻译:陈健萍姐妹

经文:约翰福音20:24-29

祝我们所有的读者有一个蒙福和有意义的农历新年!班底浸信会 “每日灵粮” 团队同祝贺。严以撒牧师自2020年3月18日实施的行动管制令(MCO) 的第一天开始就发起了这个事工,目的是每天与教会的每一位会友保持联系。这些每日的灵修是以英语开始的,后来有人要求把它们翻译成中文;有些教会则要求用作会众每日的属灵供应;教会的会友协助与家人和朋友分享,而他们又传给了他们的亲友。我们不知道这些 “每日灵粮” 达至的人和国家的确切数字,但我们知道,当上帝的话语传出时,它永远不会无效返回。我们感谢您们许多人写信来分享您们从这些灵粮中得到的祝福。我们感到最开心的是当中有人接受基督为您们的主和救主。我们鼓励您加入我们的教会或您附近的任何以圣经为信仰权威的教会。如果您需要个人的帮助,请与我们任何一人联系。我们将与您在基督里过新生活的美妙旅程中陪伴您同行。

我们许多人都会错过今年传统农历新年的团聚。感谢上帝我们有了智能手机,我们仍然可以在电脑屏幕或手机前欢庆团年;但这与您能亲临相聚,能触摸、感觉、嗅觉、品尝和听见的情形相当不同。我们的孩子更喜欢真实的红包,而不是虚拟的。

圣经有记载耶稣复活后第一次与门徒的团聚。除了多马,其他人都在那里。怀疑的多马在第一个复活节时不在场,当时耶稣和十个门徒在一起。这些门徒在耶稣复活后第一次见到祂,都非常兴奋。多马错过了。他坚决地说:“我非看见他手上的钉痕,用指头探入那钉痕,又用手探入他的肋旁,我总不信。”(约翰福音20:25)。多马不屈的态度在这里很清楚地展现了,在这种情况下,没有看见就相信是不可思议的。

从某种意义上说,在约翰福音20:24-29中,至少有十个门徒眼见为实,他们经历了大喜乐。但耶稣有一个明确的声明:“没有看见(而)就相信的人是有福了。” 这份福气完全改变了这种情况。即使您没有见过耶稣,您也可以得到极大的祝福。一周后,所有的门徒同聚在一个地方,门都关上了。突然间,耶稣显现在他们当中。耶稣完全依据多马当日的话,慈爱地向多马伸出手,祂邀请多马用指头摸祂手上的钉痕,并用他的手探入祂的肋旁。祂继续对多马说:“不要疑惑,总要信。”

多马大声喊道:“我的主,我的神!” 耶稣对他说:“你因看见了我才信;那没有看见就信的有福了。”

关于耶稣的复活,凭目睹而相信是真实的只限于使徒一代。约翰福音的作者敏锐地意识到了这一点。然而,写下约翰福音的用意乃是为了未来的所有世代,以让他们可以在没有眼见、没有机会触摸耶稣的情况之下,也可以相信祂。耶稣向这些人应许:“那没有看见就信的有福了。”

这让我想起了我童年时在农历新年期间的经历。在非基督教家庭中,父母一大清早就起床向天神膜拜,并在祖先牌位前祭祀祖先。来自一个基督教家庭,我的父亲经常给我讲我祖先的故事。他会给我看我祖父母的旧照片、跟我讲曾祖父母的故事,我从来没有见过他们。除了我祖父的名字,其他的我都记不住了。我感谢上帝赐予我具有意义的传统。有一次,我在向一位同学作见证。他直截了当地说我相信耶稣是愚蠢的;这只是一个故事。你怎么知道真有这样的人?我当时 15岁,我唯一所能说的只是我的父亲告诉我,我在中国有曾祖父母和祖父母;我从未怀疑过他们的存在。我亲爱的朋友们,相信就能看见。我祈盼在这个农历新年期间,您会相信耶稣。愿圣灵打开您的眼睛,让您看到真理。这真理就是耶稣,祂会使您得自由。您真的自由了。

福音书的作者约翰除了多马这一伟大的信仰告白 “我的主,我的神!” 之外,没有再添加任何东西。他非常清楚,那些没有见过主而相信的人已经体验到了耶稣所应许的福气。许多过去难以相信的事情已变得可信了。在信仰方面,当您相信的时候,您就看见、能体验。

今天的祈祷

主耶稣,为农历新年我们感谢祢!我们将世上的华人都交托于祢。世界各地还有许多华人仍然不认识祢。我们为不认识祢的直系亲属和好朋友祈祷。我们祈求他们诚实的怀疑会引导他们找到耶稣是谁的真理:那唯一死而复活的!这位被钉死在十字架上且已成为我们的主的耶稣。
主啊,感谢祢,凡接待祢的都成为上帝的儿女。求帮助我们相信祢;帮助我们在顺从圣灵的带领之下忠心;并为上帝的荣耀、为造福人类,用祢丰饶地赋予我们的恩赐服事祢。
奉耶稣的名义,阿们。