I am sure you have heard the term “Doubting Thomas”. It means “a person who is skeptical and refuses to believe something without proof.” It originated in the passage we are about to read today. Have you ever been a doubting Thomas? Does it take a lot to make you believe something? Have you ever said, “I won’t believe it until I see it!” There are times when all of us are a doubting Thomas.
In today’s world, there is so much information being thrown at us! I know that all of you keep up with current events by using Facebook? There is a saying “Believe half of what you read and none of what you hear.” Debra often says I am gullible. I tend to believe everything I hear. That can get you in trouble. I guess the other side of that is the skeptic who believes nothing you tell them. I come home from Uber-ing and tell Debra I met someone last night and they were so broken and they told me they are coming to church today. She often responds sarcastically, “Yeah right!” Actually, over the last two years of driving only one person has come to church who I invited and they said they would come. She came only once and Debra said she realized I was married and we never saw her again. I guess I am gullible. Where are you! Are you gullible, do you believe everything you hear? Or are you a skeptic, an EEYORE? “You can’t believe anything anyone tells you!
I guess with the things of this world we should have some skepticism. But when It comes to the Word of God and faith in Jesus we need to open our hearts and minds and believe because at the end of the reading today Jesus says, “Blessed are they who have not seen but believe.” That is what faith in Jesus is all about. We do not see with our physical eye, we see with an eye of faith. That faith is what makes us fall under the “Blessed” category.
Lets read from John 20: 10 – 31 The story of “Doubting Thomas”.
In the reading, today the first thing we see is the disciples, less Thomas, meeting on that first resurrection day. This is after John, Peter and Mary have seen what they have seen. John and Peter seeing the empty tomb, the empty Jesus cocoon. Mary, the very first person to see the risen Jesus. It is now evening and I am sure there has been quite a stir when others have come and found the tomb empty, especially the Romans and the religious folks who had Jesus crucified.
The title of this series in Believing is Seeing. They saw the empty tomb and believed all sorts of crazy things, they believed all kinds of stuff except the truth, He is risen! The Roman guards who were at that tomb were paid money to tell people that the disciples had stolen the body! In fear, the disciples were hiding out behind locked doors.
Out of nowhere Jesus appears to them. He is in His resurrected body so locked doors are not a problem to him. He shows them His wounds! Can you imagine how they must have felt? The reading said, “they were filled with joy!” That had to be an understatement! He says, “Peace be with you!” and then commissions them to go out and share this good news! He then breathes on them and says “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” In Genesis God breathed life into man and once again Jesus breathes New life into the disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit. The word breath and spirit in the New Testament Greek is RUACH. So, we see the Holy Ruach comes into the disciples
I believe it is at this point the disciples are saved or become “Born Again”. In Acts 2, we are heading there with this series we see once again Jesus giving the Holy Spirit to His disciples. We call that the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. Remember John the Baptist saying, “I baptize you with water but there is one coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” This is what happens in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit comes in us for salvation. He comes on us for power. We will cover this further in the future with this message.
Thomas is not there! Why? This brings me to my first point today:
- The worst thing that a man can do when in disbelief or doubt, is isolate Himself.
Isolation is the devil’s tool. The devil will lie to you in isolation. It appears that Thomas is his discouragement and doubt is off sulking by himself. “Woe is me!”
This reminds me of Elijah in 1 Kings 19
Elijah just has this tremendous victory. He comes against worshipers of a false God called Baal. He has a contest to see whose God is real. God proves himself and then Elijah has these 450 prophets of Baal killed. King Ahab tells his evil wife what happens and she threatens to kill Elijah so he runs away and hides in a cave.
But the LORD said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
11“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14He replied again, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
15Then the LORD told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshib to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. 17Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 18Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!
People who get upset or disillusioned in the church all of the sudden just disappear. This is the wrong way to handle it. We need to be honest and discuss issues. When we are down is when we need fellowship.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thess 5:11
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25
Thomas comes out of his pity party and the disciples excitedly tell him about Jesus coming to them. Thomas says, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
What arrogance! He had been with these guys for 3 years and now he would not believe or trust them??? For 8 days the disciples had to put up with EEYORE! They do not seem to lose their patience with him and neither does the Lord! Jesus shows up again! Locked doors again! Jesus says to Thomas, “Peace be with you, put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
Jesus is patient with Thomas’s skepticism and we should be patient with the skepticism of others.
- Jesus is patient with our reluctance to come to Faith.
I have often seen the impatience of a Christian spouse with their unsaved mate. In the same way you wives must submit yourselves to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God’s word, your conduct will win them over to believe. It will not be necessary for you to say a word, 1 Peter 3:1
This applies not just to wives, the Bible says we must submit to one another. This kind of submission takes patience and grace. WE NEED TO BE PATIENT CHRISTIANS, NOT PUSHY CHRISTIANS!
There is no need for Thomas to examine the wounds any closer! He sees and believes and declares, “MY LORD AND MY GOD!”
- Faith declares Him as Lord and God.
The doubter took the Gospel further than any of the rest of them. Thomas took the Gospel all the way to India! Even today in the province of Kerala, India, they call themselves St. Thomas Christians. Thomas faith took him to India and his faith took him to martyrdom. Thomas was executed for his faith. He was speared to death.
Thomas saw and believed! He received a faith that empowered him to take the Gospel further than it had ever been. It gave him the faith and courage to die for Jesus. Jesus said that same empowering faith is available to us who believe without seeing.
29Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Thomas is called Thomas the Twin. We are not told who Thomas’s twin was. It is it you? Are you Thomas’s twin. Are you a skeptic? It is okay to be skeptical about information we get today but we need to lay down our skepticism concerning Jesus. The young people I pick up today are so filled with skepticism in relation to religion. They do not believe the Bible, they will not believe someone’s testimony and they dare not believe some preacher. I hope Jesus is as patient with them as he was with Thomas. Hopefully something will happen in their lives and they will cry out “My Lord and My God!” Can you declare today “Jesus, you are my Lord and My God!” Do you have a faith that would take you to the ends of the earth if needed? Do you have a faith that would die for Jesus if you had to? If you believe what John wrote about Jesus then Jesus said Blessed are you and you do have that kind of faith.
The disciples met on a Sunday evening and set a precedence for us. This is why as Christians, we meet on Sundays. It is the day the Lord rose from the dead and church has been meeting on this day ever since. We are blessed! They met because the saw and believed. We meet because we believe and we see.