Learning from Doubting Thomas

by: Larry Davies | Apr 12, 2017

Thomas was a disciple of Jesus. We know him as “Doubting Thomas.” Why? Thomas asks probing questions. His questions and doubts ultimately provide answers for us.

Shortly after Jesus death, the disciples were hiding, fearful of being arrested as a follower of Jesus. Their leader and savior brutally executed. Soldiers were likely searching for other disciples. As they hid, they also wondered: “Who’s next?”

What happened to the promises of Jesus? The Kingdom of God? Could there be a Kingdom if the king was dead? Could there be miracles if the miracle worker disappeared? Could you offer sight to the blind, healing to the sick or hope for the poor if the one who made the promises ceased to exist?

Early one morning, Mary Magdalene came running to the disciples from the tomb claiming Jesus was alive! Later that same day Jesus appeared to the disciples even showing his wounds to prove he was indeed alive.

Thomas, however was out. Upon returning and hearing the news, he could not believe it. “No way!” he said. “I saw the spear thrust into his body. I saw him die! I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds and place my hand into the wound on his side!”

Illustration courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Oil painting “The Doubting Thomas” by Leendert van der Cooghen (1632-1681).

Days later Jesus appeared again! “Peace be with you,” he said. Most of the disciples were filled with joy but not Thomas. Then Jesus walked over: “Thomas, put your finger here in my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (from John 20:20-27)

With obvious emotion, Thomas said: “My Lord and my God! Please forgive me for doubting but I am so afraid!”

Jesus replied: “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.”

Jesus was alive and offering additional reassurance to Thomas and everyone in the room. “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 26:44-45)

Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection happened for a reason. After years of the disciples sitting at Christ’s feet, the teaching became clear. Jesus said: “With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: there is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me. You are witnesses.” (Luke 26:47-48)

1. Thomas experienced seeing Christ and believed! Can you believe it?
2. Jesus is granting authority for us to take this message of Christ to everyone.
3. Share with confidence because we are Christ’s living witnesses.

“But what if others do not believe us? What if they attack us? Condemn us?”

Jesus said: “I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised… the Holy Spirit will come and fill you with power from heaven.” (Luke 26:49)

There is the answer! God understands your fear and sends help:

1. Jesus is alive and you are a witness: now believe!
2. You are to extend Christ’s message of faith and hope to others.
3. Share with confidence because we are Christ’s living witnesses.
4. Do not be afraid for the Holy Spirit will fill you with power from heaven!

Are you a Doubting Thomas? Are you still holed up, fearful, confused and desperately looking for answers and courage?

Hear the Good News: Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!

Easter is the promise that you will be filled with the power of God’s Holy Spirit! Do not be afraid! Confidently open your doors and take Christ’s message of forgiveness and hope to all the nations.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!

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