Summary: Just as Thomas was at heart a sincere follower, so too must we reach out and touch Jesus by faith.
John 20:24-29 – From Doubting to Doing
Harriet, the church gossip and self-appointed supervisor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several residents were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked all afternoon in front of the town’s only bar. She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know that he was an alcoholic.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and then just walked away. He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Harriet’s house and left it there all night.
Sometimes sight is not the best sense to use in order to determine what is real and what is not. Our eyes cannot always determine truth. Something may look real and not be, like George and Harriet; but something else may not be seen at all but be very real, like the air you breathe. And it requires faith to turn doubts into action.
We look today at Thomas, from John 20:24-29. This is Jesus’ 6th appearance after His resurrection, exactly one week later. The rumors had been flying, but many people still claimed to have seen Him, including most of His disciples. Except Thomas. Thomas had not been around when Jesus appeared to the other disciples behind locked doors 7 days before. We don’t know where Thomas was that first day. Perhaps due to fear, depression, disillusionment, discouragement, withdrawal seemed to be his only method of dealing with the supposed loss of his friend and master, Jesus.
Folks, let me tell you: when you get depressed, where do you go? Do you run from others? Do you hide? Do you get away from it all? Do you pretend it’s not happening? Or do you get with others who could help you? Folks, it’s OK to hurt, to bleed. It’s OK to be depressed from time to time. It’s OK to not be perfect, or functioning perfectly 100% of the time. You certainly don’t need to escape from reality for long periods of time when you’re hurt. Let’s be a kind of church that people can turn to in troubles, not run away from.
So the disciples told Thomas afterwards: v25a. But Thomas was not ready to get over hurting that easily. As much as he wanted to believe, he could not simply accept the accounts of others without proof: v25b. We look back and scoff. We look back and say, “How could he not believe? Jesus told him He would rise from the dead? All his buddies had seen Him? Thomas was a fool for not believing.” Oh?
The world is full of people who behave the same way, even among Christian circles: “I will not believe unless…”
- We want the Church to be a place filled with perfect and holy people so that we can believe in it, and believe there is goodness in the world.
- We want the minister to preach eloquent sermons so that the gospel can make sense to us.
- We want our lives to be free of suffering and pain so that we can believe in the goodness of God.