Luke 10:23—Are those who see blessed, or those who do not see?

Problem: Here Jesus tells His disciples: “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.” However, later He said to them, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Which one is right?

Solution: First of all, there is a different meaning to the word “blessed” in each passage. In the first case, it seems to mean that they were highly favored because they were seeing these miracles occur (cf. 10:17–19). In the John passage, “blessed” means worthy of praise, which is a reference to those who believe in Christ without having the opportunity to place their finger into the crucifixion wounds in His resurrection body.

Further, even if “blessed” is taken in the same sense, there is still an important difference in the object of Jesus’ commendation for what they saw or didn’t see. There is a difference between requiring sight as the ground of faith, as Thomas apparently did, and using sight in process of exercising their faith, as the disciples did. There is nothing wrong with evidence used to support one’s faith, but it should not be used as the very basis of it. God alone and His self-revelation is the basis for believing, not the miraculous evidence for it. So we should believe in God because of Himself, not merely because of the evidence for Him. Evidence, at best, merely give us grounds for belief that God exists. Only God Himself, through our free choice, can persuade us to believe in Him. Therefore, to demand that we “see” more evidence before believing in Him diminishes the merit of faith (i.e., our blessedness).

See All Problems

This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.