Summary: This message identifies some of the character traits of "Thomas, the doubter" that can be seen in Christians today.
Turn with me to Matthew 10. We’re going to read the first four verses.
1And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power (authority) against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Over the years I have from time to time thought about apostles and asked myself “Who am I most like?” Have you ever done that? The question is not related to the fact that these are all men. The question is related to how they are characterized in scripture and what they do.
So I think about Peter. What’s so interesting about Peter is that in John 1, when Jesus meets Peter, he says “Simon, son of Jonas, I’m going to call you Cephas.” Peter was not his name. Simon was his name and Jesus changed it to Cephas.
When Jesus changes your name, ladies and gentlemen, it’s for a reason. The word “Cephas” means “rock”. It doesn’t mean a big boulder but a stone or pebble. It’s something that can be moved easily.
When you look at Peter’s life you see that he operated a lot out of his emotions. He was the first one to do everything for Jesus. In a way, he was the mouthpiece for the other disciples.
Remember he was the one that when Jesus was walking on the water and all of the other disciples were afraid in the boat, Peter says “Lord, if that’s you bid me to come.” Can you imagine the other disciples looking at him and asking “Are you crazy?” Peter walks on water. Jesus wasn’t the only one to walk on water.
Peter was fiercely loyal to Jesus too. Remember when Jesus talked about his death on the cross and Peter said “Nope. Not going to happen. You ain’t dying today Jesus.” And that’s when Jesus had to rebuke Satan. So I thought “I could be Peter.”
Then there other times I’d look at the disciples and think about James and John. Jesus called them the “sons of thunder”. Do you think that was an accident? When you read some of the commentaries they say James and John were called “sons of thunder” because they were mighty preachers. They preached with fire in their bellies.
Can Barry use his imagination for a minute? When I see the “sons of thunder” in my mind I’m seeing two guys that when they come into the room you notice them. And the thing you notice is that they’re big and they will look at you and you realize you don’t want to mess with them.
Remember when Jesus went to Samaria and the people didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus? And what did the “sons of thunder” do? What did they say? “Do you want us to call down fire and rain it upon them?” These were the “sons of thunder”.
In my mind I’m seeing this: if anyone disrespected Jesus, he may get a knock at the door. He opens the door and sees these two guys. “We were there when you said ‘such and such’ to Jesus. We’re here to make sure you understand that you won’t say that again.” The “sons of thunder” okay?
It’s so interesting to me that John, one of the “sons of thunder”, is the disciple that the Bible says “Jesus loved”. John, one of the “sons of thunder”, was the one Jesus charged with taking care of his mother. Jesus put his mother under the care of someone he knew people would not mess with! So I thought, you know what? I could be a “son of thunder”.
This morning, we’re going to talk about a disciple that many of us would not want to admit that we’re probably more like him than we realize.
We’re going to talk about a disciple that during the tough times gave the appearance of being on the same page as Jesus. He gave the appearance of wanting to do everything Jesus told him to do. But that was not who he really was. And I’m not talking about Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus. I’m talking about someone who was with him for the long hall.
The disciple we’re going to look at this morning is Thomas.
The title of the message this morning is “Are you a Thomas Christian”?
We’re going to begin in John 11.
The Lord first gave me the idea about “Thomas Christians” probably six or seven years ago. And I remember where I was and I remember who was standing in front of me. I was standing in the back of the sanctuary and Sister LaFaye was standing in front of me and the Lord started talking about “Thomas Christians”.