“When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:17) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest of all His miracles. Everything Jesus accomplished hinged upon Him rising from the dead. Without the resurrection, the cross is a failure. Since, the resurrection is the most important miracle, it is also the most difficult to believe. Jesus took time to convince the apostles He was alive.
These are the people who have heard our heartbeat and have bought into our vision. They are so close to us that just giving them little “hints” is all that is necessary to convince them. Why did Jesus take the time to fold the piece of cloth which had covered His face in the tomb? (John 20:6-9) He knew John would be looking for little details. John knew the nature of Jesus. When John saw the face-cloth “folded together in a place by itself,” he believed. It’s the little things we do which convinces this type of follower.
It took more than a folded piece of cloth to convince Peter. He saw what John saw, but still didn’t believe. Jesus knew He needed Peter’s leadership ability as he was a strong leader. People liked him and would follow him even when he was going the wrong way. (John 21:3) When Peter said, “I am going fishing,” he meant he was going back to his old business. Jesus took the time to set up an experience He knew Peter would understand.
Why did Jesus take the time to catch some fish and cook it over an open fire? He invaded Peter’s world. He knew Peter liked fish. Jesus knew the disciples had caught nothing, so why did He ask them if they had any food? (John 21:5) We must learn to lead by asking good questions. It’s not enough to know the answers. We must help our followers find the answers. Jesus was leading Peter through a discovery process. Jesus turned this fishing expedition into a total learning experience. Peter heard something, saw something, tasted something, felt something and as a result believed.
Jesus said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” (John 21:6) They caught such a multitude of fish they were not able to draw it into the boat. John told Peter, “It is the Lord.” That was enough to convince Peter and he “plunged” into the water. Jesus knew much of Peter’s problem was his memory of denying Jesus. So again, Jesus approached him with a question. “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15) Jesus gave him the opportunity to reaffirm his faith. Three times Peter had denied Him, so Jesus gave him three opportunities to confess his faith. If we take the time to convince this type of follower, they will become like Peter and follow us to the cross. He died crucified upside down.
This fishing story involved seven of the remaining eleven apostles. Most people are looking for strong leaders to follow. How do we convince them? Jesus took the time to feed them. He knew people will follow whoever feeds them. “Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are You?’ – knowing that it was the Lord.” (John 21:12)
These are people with honest doubts. We must never forget we are asking them to believe the impossible. How did Jesus convince Thomas He was alive? He showed him His scars. Scars are different than wounds. Wounds are still open and bleeding. Scars are the marks of past wounds which have healed. Jesus’ scars convinced Thomas.
It is not enough for us to touch them, we must permit them to touch our scars. They must identify with our pain and feel what we felt. Jesus led from vulnerability. Bullies always try to lead from strength, but Jesus was secure enough to show His scars. Convincing the late bloomers is the “tipping point” in leadership. This is a large group of followers that if we take the time to convince will become loyal followers like Tomas. As an apostle Tomas traveled the furthest and died as a martyr in India.
There is nothing we can do which will win the confidence of the hold-outs. Jesus couldn’t win the confidence of Judas. We must stop fretting over the hold-outs in our lives. They have personal problems which they refuse to allow God to heal, and there’s nothing we can do to change that. Don’t waste time crying over Judas. Use your time wisely to do something productive.
If We Wisely Win the Confidence of the First Four Groups, We Don’t Have to Worry About the Hold-Outs.