Sunday in church and this week on the podcast, we were talking about the resurrected Christ and His appearances to the apostles and other people shortly after His death. It was crazy to me that they just didn’t get it. Why were they so surprised that the tomb was empty three days after His death? Hadn’t He said repeatedly that this precise thing would happen? He had explained it all to them. And yet – when Mary said she saw Him, they didn’t believe her. When He walked along with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they didn’t even recognize Him. They didn’t know quite what to do, so they wandered out to their boats and started fishing again. They were afraid, confused, and it seemed they had forgotten so much. What was going on? Why were the apostles so out of sorts? Surely, they were the ones that should be leading the people forward, calming other people’s fears, and believing that He really had overcome death. Right?
And then there was Thomas in John’s account. It said he wasn’t there when Jesus came and showed Himself to the other apostles. He said he wouldn’t believe until he could see the Savior for himself – until he could feel the prints of the nails himself.
It said that eight days later, the Savior came back to where Thomas was, and Thomas got his wish. He was able to do just what he wanted; he saw the Savior, touched the nail prints, and knew for himself. It’s interesting to me that the first thing the Savior said to Thomas was, “Peace be unto you.”
I bet that was a long eight days. As the other apostles spoke of their experiences, Thomas didn’t believe them. He, in essence, asked the question repeatedly, “Did Jesus really return? Maybe they are lying. Why haven’t I witnessed Him for myself?” On and on. No rest. No peace. For eight straight days.
What can we learn from Thomas. If we are wandering around saying, “Prove it. Prove it.” We may be missing the peace that comes from trusting others until we receive our own witness.
I was listening to a BYU speech this week by Gus L Hart called, Six Things I Believe and he said this, “The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.” Think about that for a minute. It’s a powerful statement. Faith is “not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21). What if Thomas said, “I hope you’re right. I have missed Him. I am so excited to think He has been resurrected.” What would that have done for Thomas? He would have found peace much earlier. We can learn a lot from Thomas.
In this week’s Come Follow Me lesson, we get to Acts and the Day of Pentecost. In the first chapter of Acts, Christ points out that the apostles had been baptized by water but not yet of the Holy Ghost. He promised them that in a few days, after He left them, they would receive the Holy Ghost. Then in the very next chapter, the miracle happens. There was a sound from Heaven and a rushing wind, and the Holy Ghost fell upon them. From this point on, so many cool things start happening! Suddenly they weren’t just a group of confused fishermen, but they were the very apostles whom Christ had given authority to preach in His name. Thousands of people were baptized, and Christ’s ministry continued. Peter became a mighty apostle, teaching and sharing Christ’s gospel with authority and undeniable power.
Do you get it? Without the gift of the Holy Ghost they were confused. They didn’t believe each other, and they didn’t, as far as I can tell, even remember that Christ said it would all go down like this. And here is why. They needed the Holy Ghost! We, too, need the Holy Ghost. We learn in the book of John that some of the roles of the Holy Ghost are to bring things to our remembrance, to bring Christ’s peace, and to comfort us when we are sad. Once the apostles had that gift given to them, there was no stopping them. But before that day, it was kind of a mess.
It’s the same with us, my friends. We need the Holy Ghost. We need to do all that we can to act like Jesus Christ and serve and be kind to others. We need to try to increase our purity every day. This happens when we study our scriptures and repent when we mess up. This happens every week as we look forward to the sacrament and our opportunity to renew our covenants with the Savior. When we go to the temple or turn off that filthy show or song, we increase our ability to have the spirit and Christ’s influence with us continually.
My old pal (I wish), Elder Lawrence Corbridge, said it best in his life-changing address, Stand Forever.
“Pay whatever price you must pay, bear whatever burden you must bear, and make whatever sacrifice you must make to get and keep in your life the spirit and power of the Holy Ghost. Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in your life. Everything depends on that.”
We are so fortunate! We who have been baptized by the proper authority and who were given the gift of the Holy Ghost on that occasion have the ability always to have His spirit to be with us. It’s such an amazing gift. Let’s not take it for granted. Please read this week’s account of the Day of Pentecost. See what a difference the Holy Ghost made to the early members of the church, and strive for those same results in your own life. Everything really does depend on it.