What Causes People to Doubt the Resurrection of Christ?


We are continuing to meditate on the Lord Jesus's resurrection when He appeared to the disciples in the upper room while they ate. Here's the passage again:


36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." 40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:36-42).


When one considers all the evidence the disciples saw and heard that day, why would they still doubt? Was it the lack of evidence? Was it a lack of faith? What causes people today to doubt the resurrection of Christ?


Many people do not try to find answers to the questions they have about the resurrection of Jesus. For some, it is not doubt, it is unbelief. This kind of distrust of the evidence rests more in the will than the mind. They make a conscious decision not to believe. Unbelief is a sin when it is a choice of the heart. The enemy, Satan, is quick to sow doubtful thoughts and suggestions into our minds. We are presented with a choice as to whether we will listen to God's Word or Satan's doubts. If you have doubts, do not hesitate to examine and seek out the facts where the Gospel is concerned. There is evidence at every step for the Christian faith, but there is a point when one must cast themselves into the hand of God and choose to believe or reject the Gospel. Martin Luther said: "The art of doubting is easy, for it is an ability that is born with us."[1]


God doesn't have a problem with your doubts, but He does have a problem with willful unbelief that shuns the truth, refusing to reach a conclusion when presented with the evidence. Henry Drummond once said: "Christ distinguished between doubt and unbelief. Doubt says, 'I can't believe.' Unbelief says, 'I won't believe.' Doubt is honest. Unbelief is obstinate."[2] If you lack evidence for faith in Christ, be sure that the Lord is near and ready to confirm you in your faith if you are willing to hear the truth. If there is an openness to the truth in the deepest place of your heart, the evidence will come if you seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).


Jesus manifested Himself in their midst and showed them His hands and feet (Luke 24:39-40). I wish I could have seen their faces as He had them look on His wounds. Maybe, one day we will be able somehow to view those marks of love when we finally get home! Luke notes the joy and amazement on the disciples' faces as they took in all the evidence of the visible, bodily presence of Christ (v. 41). They must have wondered if what they were seeing was too good to be true. They felt the nail prints as He held out His hands to them while going around the room.


Have you ever wondered why the scars remained in the hands of Jesus even though His body was totally healed and resurrected? The marks of love remain for all to see. How wonderful that the God we serve bears the scars of love on His body. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Keith Thomas


Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, study 66. Jesus Appears to the Disciples.

[1] John Blanchard, Gathered Gold, Printed by Evangelical Press, Welwyn, Herts, England. 1984. Page 71. [2] John Blanchard, More Gathered Gold, Printed by Evangelical Press, Welwyn, Herts, England. 1986. Page 79