Summary: This sermon encourages explores how Jesus helps us deal with doubts.
Do you ever have doubts?
Not just doubts about everyday things,
but also doubts about faith related matters?
Some people worry about having doubts,
or at least showing that they have doubts.
But we shouldn’t be afraid of doubts.
They are part of life, even part of the Christian life.
We should expect them to arise.
One day Martin Luther was asked the question
Why do we more readily believe Satan when he terrifies than Christ when he consoles? “Because we are better equipped to doubt than to hope;
because hope comes from the Spirit of God but despair and doubts come from our own spirit.
As we are human we should expect doubts to arise in our life.
However we should never leave them alone,
every doubt needs attention.
And today’s Gospel reading highlights some things that are very helpful
and important for each of us when doubts arise.
Today’s Gospel reading is where the term doubting Thomas, comes from.
Unfortunately Thomas I think is unfairly treated.
For instance in John chapter 11 verse 14 to 16 we hear the following about Thomas
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Thomas seems a fairly compassionate chap.
And someone committed to being part of the team.
But not only this do you realise that Thomas was not the only disciple who doubted.
Let’s turn to another event that takes place after the resurrection.
In Matthew 28:16-20.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in a the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Even though they worshipped Jesus some of the disciples still had doubts.
Some of the other disciples even though the doubted continued worshipping Jesus.
There is no doubt that Thomas had doubts.
He was not in the room with the other disciples.
He was not prepared to believe unless he saw.
But the fact is it is some of the other disciples had doubts too.
Remember they were locked in a room.
They had no idea what was going on.
Jesus who they had put their hope in was dead,
or at least they thought he was.
They were likely on the most wanted list for being a follower of Jesus.
If you were in their sandals,
How would you be feeling?
Do you reckon you would be all calm and collected?
I don’t think I would be,
I think I would be feeling my world has been turned upside down.
You would probably have some doubts.
But fortunately for the disciples these doubts are calmed because Jesus appears.
And this is the first important point in dealing with any doubts we have.
When we are doubting, the presence of Jesus is essential.
Why? Because Jesus brings peace.
Three times in today’s reading Jesus says ‘Peace be with you’
Doubts can lead to feelings of uneasiness.
Doubts can lead to feeling disturbed.
Doubts can also lead us to retreat and not interact
with Jesus and other Christians.
This was partly Thomas’ issue in today’s reading.
Thomas problem wasn’t that he doubted.
It was how he reacted to his doubts.
It was that he didn’t remain with the group, with the disciples.
Away from the group he was in a vulnerable position.
Away from other disciples he also missed out on the initial blessings
and peace that Jesus brought during this difficult time.
Now we all know in our heads that Jesus is present constantly in our lives,
whether we want him there or not.
However we don’t always take advantage of his presence.
When you are experiencing difficult times,
or having doubts about something.
Do you tap into Jesus’ presence?
Do you talk over your issues with another Christian?
Do you open up your bible?
Do you spend time in prayer?
Do you make sure you don’t miss worship?
These are all helpful tools for each of us when we are faced with doubts.
Each of these tools help us recognise and take advantage of Jesus presence in our lives.
Because when we are doubting it is crucial that we are aware of Jesus presence in our lives.