Have you ever wondered what some of your unsaved family members or friends would be like if they were Christians? For example, most of us know people who tend to be rather verbal—their mouths enter the room first. If we fantasized about what their lives as believers would be, we might think, Too bad Harry isn’t a believer. If he were, he’d be another Apostle Peter!” Or maybe the individual is very forthright about his ideas and we muse, “Too bad Uncle George isn’t a believer. He’d be another Apostle Paul.”
About a year ago, I met “Fred” (not his real name). After I came to know Fred, I tried to imagine what he might be like if he accepted Yeshua. I thought to myself, “Too bad Fred is not in the Lord yet. He’d be another Thomas.”
I don’t say that to be cruel. I have really enjoyed the times that Fred and I have spent together; but the first thing one learns about Fred is that like the Apostle Thomas, he too is a skeptic’s skeptic. If God appeared to Fred in a burning bush, Fred is the kind who would first insist on a weenie roast to make sure the fire was real. Then he would commit himself to believing and following the divine instructions.
When we discussed matters pertaining to the gospel, Fred’s questions were far from trivial. Minute detail was not what Fred questioned. It was always the BIG issues: God’s existence, the problem of evil, the inspiration of Scripture, etc. Fred and I would get together once a week for Bible study, and we would talk about spiritual things, including a BIG issue or two.
Considering that Fred was a skeptic’s skeptic, his response to the Bible was incredible. As the weeks passed, I could tell that God was working in his life. Fred could also sense it. He would speak of answers to prayer and a strange feeling he had that Jesus really was the Messiah.
Because Fred and I were friends, I felt I could speak plainly. One day after a Bible study, I asked pointedly, “Fred, what s keeping you from believing in Yeshua?”
He answered, “I’m not sure. And I’m not sure what it would take to make me sure.”
He began to read the Gospel of Matthew, and as he read more and more, he began to believe, but he still didn’t feel sure that it was true. As God’s Word began to “soak in,” Fred felt much less sure of the “wrongness” of a Jewish person believing in Yeshua, but he did not yet feel sure enough about the rightness either.
One day I told him, “You have been studying about Yeshua for a while now. You can see that ‘it floats’. You are drowning without God. Why not try it and see. If you commit yourself, he will be more and more real to you as you walk with him.”
At last Fred was willing to admit that he could see that the gospel was true, but he had held back partially because he had some doubts, and more importantly because he was afraid of the consequences of the commitment. A few minutes later, we prayed the sinner’s prayer together and the “Doubting Thomas” became a believer.
Of course now that Fred is a believer, he needs our prayers more than ever as he seeks to walk with the Lord. And you know what? Fred is still skeptical—only now his skepticism has taken a different direction. Now Fred cannot believe that a thinking Jewish person could not see the truth about Yeshua being the Messiah of Israel!