Summary: Easter Worship Celebration! Looking at Easter through the eyes of Doubting Thomas!

Easter - Doubters

April 16, 2017

John 20:19-29

In a closely contested race, the judges called it a photo finish. They looked at the photo to determine the winner, and it was clear that Alfonso crossed the line in first place, just ahead of Samuel. The judges were in total agreement, so the handed the 1st place trophy to Frank, who crossed the finish line third. Alfonso and Samuel didn’t break any rules, so why did Frank receive the trophy?

Let’s try another one - - Anthony and Cleopatra are lying dead on the floor. The window was open and there was water and glass all over the floor. Brutus was nowhere to be found. There were no marks on Anthony or Cleopatra. How did they die?

In the 1st situation, Alfonso and Samuel are horses. Frank is a jockey and he was riding Alfonso, and since Alfonso cannot hold the trophy it was given to Frank!

In the 2nd situation, it might help you to know Anthony and Cleopatra are fish. The dog, Brutus, knocked over the fish bowl, which broke and spilled water all over the floor.

Now that you’ve got the hang of it, let’s try one more. On Friday night, a man dies. He’s buried that same night. On Sunday morning, His friends arrive at the grave, only to discover His body is gone. What happened? I think we know.

That question has been debated for centuries. There are some who believe Jesus never really died on the cross, so there was no need for a resurrection. Some believe somehow Jesus didn’t really die while He was on the cross, but when they lowered Him, He regained consciousness, then went off and married Mary Magdalene and they had 3 children. I think their names were Moe, Larry and Curly! Yes, that’s my warped sense of humor! Because I don’t believe that!

I believe Jesus died on the cross, taking the sins of the world upon Him, He became sin even though He was sinless. He offered forgiveness to any who would accept the gift; then through the power of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus rose from the dead, He came back to life, He was seen by many people, especially the disciples, then ascended to heaven!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!

But I didn’t always believe that! I didn’t grow up believing in Jesus. But I always appreciated Him, only because we would get 2 weeks off every winter for what people called Christmas Break! I also think my Chanukah presents were better when Christmas was just around the corner. We always got Good Friday off from school, even though it was a mostly Jewish community.

Let me say it again, I didn’t believe in any of this stuff about Jesus. I would have considered myself an agnostic, someone who believed there was a god, but didn’t believe in a God.

I grew up Jewish, but as I look back on my beliefs, here’s the strange thing about my strange way of believing . . .

I took these as facts. No question about it - - -

I believed God created Adam and Eve

I believed there was a Garden of Eden

I believed Noah and the Ark existed

I believed there were the 10 plagues in Egypt

I believed God parted the Red Sea

There were no doubts in my mind that these were true historical events. BUT, if anyone asked me if God could bring someone back from the dead, I would have said, ‘there’s no way God can bring someone back from the dead. That’s too crazy ridiculous.’ But I’m not alone. Other’s believe the same way, in fact, one of Jesus’ disciples was like me and He knew Jesus. Listen to this story . . .

19 On the evening of the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.”

22 And when Jesus had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them,

“Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.”

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