Summary: Part 4 of this series examines how Thomas refused to believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This example also defined how Christians today are being compromised due to a lack of knowledge and beliefs.
Compromised Christianity Part 4
Seeking Jesus Conclusion
This will conclude my series titled “Compromised Christianity.” On this Easter morning we will once again look at Thomas who after hearing that Jesus had risen from the dead doubted. His initial response to hearing this good news parallels that of Christians who have doubts about Jesus today. A person can be compromised as it relates to doctrinal teachings if that they are not 100% completely sure about what the Bible says.
Last week I closed the message with the Scripture from Hosea chapter four where God says, “….my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...” When it comes to God, what matters most is knowing and understanding His Word. Acts 17:11 says, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” “Examining (searching) the Scriptures daily” is not getting up every morning and reading your devotional. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good devotionals, but that’s not searching the scriptures daily. “Searching the scriptures daily” means that you are reading and studying for understanding. While a devotional gives you a verse or two to read and then an applicable example or summary, it does not (cannot) provide the contextual revelations you receive through the Holy Spirit when you study a topic until you “know what you know” and no longer need someone to tell you what you should know. You have confidence because you studied it for yourself. Second Timothy tells us that God is looking for faithful men and women who can teach others what the Bible says but the only way we can really do this is to study for ourselves. It will be much harder for someone who searches the scriptures daily to be compromised because they are seeing for themselves what the Bible says versus what the world says.
Please turn to John chapter twenty. This is the “Thomas, the doubter” chapter. John 20:1 says, “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.” You know the story. Mary comes to the tomb and finds it empty. She was coming to finish preparing the Jesus’ body for burial. When she finds the tomb empty, Mary runs and tells Peter what she’s seen. So Peter and another disciple run all the way to the burial site. They don’t find Jesus. Peter and the other disciple did not take Mary’s word for it but ran to the tomb to see for themselves. Why? Because they too did not understand that Jesus would rise from the dead. If they had understood they would have told Mary, “Of course Jesus is not there Mary, He told us that He would rise again just as he raised Lazarus from the dead. We are just waiting on Him to reveal Himself to us and tell us our next steps.” But this is not what happened. After they leave Mary sits there crying and seeing a person she thinks is the gardener asks “Where have they taken him?” And the person she thinks is the gardener, Jesus, replies “Mary”. And with that one simple word Mary knows its Jesus. She recognizes her Master’s voice. Now let’s jump down to verse 19.
“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.’ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:19-25)
In my message last week I shared with you that when Jesus told the disciples to not let their hearts be troubled because He was going away and they knew where He was going, Thomas made the statement that they did not know where He was going so they couldn’t know the way. Jesus asked Thomas had he been with Him for three years and yet did not know Him? Thomas was with Jesus but he did not understand. We see this again when the other disciples tell him that Jesus had risen from the dead. When Jesus appeared to the disciples Thomas was not present so he missed Jesus’ first appearance to them. When he returned and the disciples told him they had seen Jesus, Thomas was adamant that he would not believe them unless he saw for himself. Think about it. All of them saw Jesus die on the cross. They witnessed Him being buried in a grave. They were in hiding now because they were scared of experiencing the same fate as Jesus. Until Jesus appeared to them they all believed it was over. But then it wasn’t over at all. Jesus was alive. Can you imagine the change that happened in that room? They were depressed when Thomas left but all of them were celebrating when he returned. And with all of the celebrations, Thomas still would not believe. He had to see it for himself.