People of the Story
Thomas and Faith
Readings – John 20 19-29(page 828) & 1 Peter 1 3-9
- You have to like the story of Thomas.
John 11 (page 820)
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin,[c] said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too-and die with Jesus.”
He didn’t really fully grasp what Jesus was saying about Lazarus however he was eager.
How often can that be said of many of us?
John 14(page 823)
14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
A bit of honest questioning and honesty about not understanding at all.
Which Jesus answers. the glorious reply ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:5,6)
So Thomas queries Jesus answers.
Now, in our reading today, he is wondering if what his friends say is true.
Have they really seen Jesus?
How you you respond to someone telling you they had seen Jesus?
- Often when I hear about the things people are experiencing with God I doubt it.
Why I ask later do I not believe?
But than the same question can also be asked about why others do not believe my story of my journey with Jesus.
It is part of us to doubt what we did not see or we do not understand.
Was Thomas acting any differently to any of us?
Would we say that we doubted or just that we had questions?
Thomas like many of us who follow Jesus had a chequered relationship with Jesus.
First he was full of enthusiasm and wanted to go and die with Jesus.
Then he just did not understand what Jesus was saying or doing at all.
Now he can not connect what has happened to what Jesus had said would so doesn’t believe the others. It is not that he has given up after all he is there with them he just can’t believe that Jesus would only show himself to some.
- So just like us Thomas wanted a little more proof.
He wanted to follow Jesus but often got it wrong.
So very much like me and maybe you. We want to understand we want to go the way of Jesus but often find it confusing and we do not understand.
- But great news.
What happened after Thomas said he needed more proof?
Yes Jesus came back again and gave him what he needed.
When I came to faith it was because Jesus showed me what I needed to see.
I believe that is one of the points of this story, Jesus will help us to believe if we ask Him.
With no condemnation about asking either.
- Peter says that faith needs to be tested, Thomas’s was here and mine is often, as I expect yours is.
1 Peter 1 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
It wasn’t that Thomas didn’t still believe in Christ he just needed a little more revealed, after all the others had had it.
However he did pass this test
28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
- Faith struggles
David Bracewell, said in my bible study this week
You and I are amongst those who Jesus called ‘blessed’ because we have believed without seeing. But sometimes it feels a bit of a struggle, and we long for a sign, some certainty. If that is how you are feeling now, bring your doubts into the open without shame or excuse.
You may long for certainty but ‘dead certainty’ brings brittle belief that tends to crumble at the first serious challenge. By contrast, honest doubt explored with integrity will lead us into a deeper faith that will stand the test of time. Can you say: ‘My Lord and my God’? That is more than enough!
- Trusting in Jesus brings Salvation
Thomas trusted Jesus even if he needed some more information, this trust brought him Salvation.
Each of those encounters with Jesus brought transformation to Thomas.
Just as encountering Jesus changed me and many others.
You to can have that transformation by engaging with Jesus.
This transformation is known as being Born Again.
Being Born Again requires Being filled with the Spirit, receiving our inheritance, and therefore Eternal Life.
- So if you want these things and are not sure you fully understand Jesus, or have meet with Him take this opportunity to ask Jesus what you need to believe.
Ask the Father the question you are struggling with.
Spend time listening to the Spirit of God as He answers you.
Remember it was a week later that Thomas got his answer it might be even longer for you or not.
Just be open to receiving the answer.
- Let us pray
John 20:19-29New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 That Sunday evening[a] the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin),[b] was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “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.”
26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “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!”
28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
1 Peter 1:3-9New Living Translation (NLT)
The Hope of Eternal Life
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance-an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad.[a] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.