To continue with my exploration of the issue of faith and knowledge, I would like to bring up a familiar incident from the scriptures where Christ tackles this debate head on. This story takes place soon after His resurrection.
During Christ’s mortal ministry, He did all He could to explain to His apostles and disciples that He would be killed by the Jewish leadership but three days after His execution He would resurrect.
Because I have the advantage of hindsight, I used to be quite critical of those who had the blessing of living with Christ during His mortal ministry but failed to grasp His true majesty. But I remind myself I would have likely been no different. I mean, how easy would it be to fathom that someone you are convinced to be the Son of God would be killed by such minor cast of characters.
Their lack of understanding of what Christ clearly taught was best exemplified by Thomas. He was not present when Perter, James, and John, who likewise doubted, saw for themselves that the tomb was empty. When Thomas joined his brethren in the locked room, he heard their incredible reports but was unmoved. He told them he could not be believe their report until he saw for himself.
Not long after this bold statement, the room filled with light and the resurrected Lord stood right there among the apostles. Rather than rebuke Thomas for his lack of faith, Christ bid him to come to forward to feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet and to feel the wound left by the spear in His side.
My guess is that Thomas was a bit humbled by this experience. But Christ had no desire to rebuke His friend. He was simply happy to associate with them again. While congratulating Thomas and the other apostles on their new found faith, Christ did say something very profound that is key to my discussion.
As great as their experience was to be in Christ’s presence, Christ said:
“…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
Now what did Christ mean by this? How could those of us who were not there in that upper room in Christ’s presence be more blessed than those had the grand opportunity to feel those nail prints?
Clearly, faith is a gift highly valued by God. So much so that we who live by faith are blessed more than those who are granted the gift of knowledge. How is that possible? Why does God place such a high value on faith?