The Christian Church is in the Easter season from Easter Sunday through Ascension Thursday to Pentecost Sunday on May 31. This is called "The Fifty Days." So, what is the Easter season all about?
Some people consider Christians to be those who believe in something that cannot be seen.
This is because we can no longer see Jesus Christ walking around here on earth visibly, like he did many centuries ago for 33 years.
The New Testament proclaims that Jesus was raised from the dead on the Sunday after he was crucified. However, even the 11 disciples themselves at first did not believe Jesus had actually been raised. In fact, when the women disciples of Jesus said that they had spoken to the risen Christ at the garden tomb, the 11 men disciples did not believe them.
What happened to these men later that same Sunday? What changed their unbelief into belief?
"Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord." -- John 20:19, 20
This is from the Gospel lesson for this Sunday, the second Sunday of Easter.
The disciple Thomas was not present that first Easter Sunday Eve with the other 10 disciples. Judas Iscariot, the 12th disciple, had hanged himself. Thomas would not believe the 10 when they said they had seen Jesus.
"Unless I see the marks in his hand and side," he said, "I will not believe it."
Then a week later, while in the same house, Thomas was present with the other 10 apostles.
Jesus appeared again and gave Thomas the proof he had asked for. Jesus showed him the nail marks on his hands and the spear mark on his side. Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" This is also what the church has proclaimed ever since. This confession is in the three ecumenical creeds, the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian creeds. These are confessed by Christians all over the world in the divine services on Sunday.
Jesus said to Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." -- John 20:29.
He did, indeed, give the proof that he had been raised. Christians today base their belief in this resurrection event on the eyewitness testimony and accounts of these first century believers. This is called historical proof. We believe the resurrection of Christ because it is true. It really happened in history and space and time.
Christians are blessed in believing, even though they do not yet see Jesus until he returns in glory on the last day. Through Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection in our place, as our substitute, we now have forgiveness of sins, life and salvation, through faith in his name. In the midst of our daily struggles and the dread specter of death, wouldn't everyone like to have such an assurance?
Yes, it is true. Christians believe now with the eyes of faith, until we see Jesus in glory with the eyes in our head.