The Sometimes Difficult Journey of Faith

I saw the movie Risen yesterday, which is the Easter story told from a Roman’s perspective. The main character, Clavius, is tasked with investigating the mystery of what happened to Jesus following the Resurrection. The story takes the view of a skeptical non-believer, who assumes the tomb had been robbed. The story takes us along on Clavius’ journey of skepticism, which begins with the desire to arrest the disciples for stealing the body.

In fact, the story in Matthew tells us that the tomb’s guards were bribed to say Jesus’ body was stolen.

Matthew 28:11-15
Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

It is interesting to consider the skepticism of belief, beyond the movie-story of Clavius, which may have been true for many Romans at the time, to those elders who bribed the guards to share a false story.

Paul Tillich once said,“Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” Doubt can actually stretch your faith and give you new understanding. Sometimes, it can feel like faith is a fight, because of the world, with all its troubles and battles, it feels like swimming upstream. But, when you rely on the assurance of grace, you can travel on the journey He has placed you on – just like the character Clavius – the journey is a part of the destination. Sometimes, this journey we are on takes us to a new place, or rather, provides for us a new perspective or a new lens from which we can view life. Maybe it is a lot like climbing a ridge or hill or mountain – once you reach your new destination, the view is totally different.

Reflections on the Gospels: Devotional Thoughts from the Pen of Vance Havner states, “You are going through this world but once…. Friends may discourage you, the skeptical may laugh… but resolve for yourself ‘I would rather sink a thousand times and have Him pull me up again than never to have stepped out on His promise.’”

Sarah Thompson

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