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Summary: Why we doubt?

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DOUBTING THOMAS

John 20:24-29

That evening of the first day of the first resurrection week was an ever memorable one. The hearts of the disciples were full of fear and wonder at the things which had happened (v. 18). They had met with closed and bolted doors, for fear of their enemies, to reconsider the whole situation. But He who died to save them set all their doubtings and their fears at rest, by suddenly appearing among them, speaking peace and breathing into them a foretaste of Pentecostal power and blessing. All Christ's acts here are full of significance. (1) He spoke the word of "Peace" to them; (2) He revealed Himself as the Crucified One (v. 20); (3) He Commissioned them (v. 21); (4) He Endued them (v. 22); (5) He promised them success in His business (v. 23). Now what about Thomas? If Peter was rash with his tongue, Thomas was slow in his mind (chap. 14:5). Observe his—

I. Lost Opportunity. "But Thomas.. was not with them when Jesus came" (v. 24). Why he was absent is not stated, but it is at least suggestive that he was absent. He must have known of the meeting, but being incredulous regarding the resurrection of Christ, he probably had given up all hope, feeling utterly perplexed and ashamed. In refusing to assemble with His brethren he only strengthened his unbelief and lost the faith-confirming fellowship of the Lord. Those out of fellowship with the body of believers need not expect to enjoy the fellowship of Christ.

II. Emphatic Denial. When the disciples said unto him, "We have seen the Lord," he said, "Except I see.... I will not believe" (v. 25). He was faithless (v. 27). His heart was hardened against the truth of "the resurrection." His "I will not" reveals the desperate antagonism that was in his nature. He would walk by sight, not by faith. It is little short of madness to set one's self against the united testimony of the disciples of Jesus Christ. The imperious "I will not believe" of the haughty and prejudiced mind can never make the faith of God of none effect. "Believe, and thou shalt see."

III. Humbling Rebuke. Thomas gained nothing but sadness and separation from his independent attitude. He did not, however, miss the next meeting of the disciples, "after eight days," for "Thomas was with them." Again Jesus appeared and saith to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger..and be not faithless, but believing" (v. 27). He had now, according to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, an opportunity of "handling the Word of Life," but as soon as He comes within touch, the hand of unbelief is paralysed. What the disciples could not do in a week's reasoning, Jesus Christ did in a moment by His Word. Unbelief is the most shameful of all things when Christ Himself is seen. How Thomas must afterward have repented over his treatment of the testimony of his believing friends. Are we not losing much blessing just now for the same reason, refusing to believe those who have experienced a fullness of blessing to which we, in our unbelief, are utter strangers? May He so reveal Himself to us that every doubt will be ashamed before Him.


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