Demonstrating God’s Love Together
From Doubters to Disciples:
Doubting & Believing…
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Missed opportunities ….. Imagine how Thomas felt having not been present at the crucial meeting the week before. Missing the boat, perhaps on the one occasion you weren’t around, despite much faithful service can make you frustrated, if not bitter…
Thomas was famous for doubting, but his story is more about believing…
The disciples were still locked away, nothing had changed from the week before. Perhaps there was a sense in which they needed to wait for Thomas to catch up. It’s as if they needed everyone to be ready before they could go forward. They were prepared, as a believing community, to go at the pace of the slowest.
Believing in Crisis…
Thomas’ precise request was met, his placed his fingers and his hands precisely where he had asked. Jesus not only met his doubts head on, but reassured him that he was listening to him, even while he doubted.
Pushing Doubt Aside: Cynicism is a common and dangerous modern disease, sometimes crudely expressed, on other occasions wearing a veneer of cultured sophistication. It always offers an excuse for carping, criticising, acting less than generously, looking backwards rather than forwards and, most dangerously of all, doing nothing. Cynicism is living in thrall to your doubts, being convinced only of your uncertainty and being paralysed as a result. Dare to doubt your doubts.
Faith is choosing to move from one vantage point, one way of looking at the world, to another.
Taking God Seriously: Recognising him not just as a resurrected friend, but as Lord. Not just an acknowledgment of what is true but a commitment to someone who embodies truth. Statements of faith are one thing, lives of faith another thing altogether.
Seeing with the Eyes of Faith: Thomas is a signpost rather than an example. Because of Thomas, if we learn from his story, we can by-pass his doubting and his need for physical reassurance. Disciples today are defined not by their demands but their trust.
Giving life: So, what does believing like this do? John’s gospel is clear, it’s the way to life … uninhibited, free, passionate, fulfilled life!