Summary: Thomas gets a bad rap, receiving the name of "Doubting Thomas." This sermon examines Thomas's bout with doubt and how we can learn from his experience.
Jesus Revives a Doubting Disciple’s Faith
Sermon #4 in After Easter Series: Close Encounters with the Risen Lord
April 29, 2018
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at email@example.com.
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to John 20.
Illus. – Kids are notorious for saying, “That’s not fair.” – For instance, here are some things my kids said were not fair when they were growing up:
• “It’s not fair that we have to shower every night because we smell if we showered last night.”
• “It’s not fair that we have to go bed at 8 o’clock and you and Mom get to stay up as late as you want to.”
• “It’s not fair that I have to brush my teeth every night.”
• “It’s not fair that we have to wash dishes; the Johnson kids don’t have to.”
• “It’s not fair that I got a B on my spelling test and Jenny, a GIRL, got a B+.”
There are a lot of things that kids say are unfair that really aren’t. But let me tell you something that I do think is unfair: That the apostle Thomas, the subject of today’s sermon, has been branded for 2,000 years plus with the name of “Doubting Thomas.” I’ll tell you why I think later.
We’ve been in a series called “Close Encounters with the Risen Lord” about Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to many of his disciples.
• The first sermon was, “Jesus Restores a Defeated Disciple” about when Peter was forgiven for his denial of Jesus and restored to Christ’s service.
• The second was titled “Jesus Enlightens Some Dim-sighted Disciples” about three appearances of Jesus in which those who saw Him did not recognize Him because of a number of distractions; and how we must look for Jesus in difficult times.
• Last week’s sermon was “Jesus Commissions His Fearful Followers,” which was about when Jesus appeared to the dispirited and discouraged disciples behind closed doors, and taught them how He was the central theme of the Old Testament, and explained to them the Gospel and then commissioned them to preach the Gospel to the world.
Today’s sermon, the last in the series, will deal with the person who has gone down in history as “Doubting Thomas.” Let’s look at this story as we wrap up our series on “Close Encounters with the Risen Lord.” In our text, we see three phases of Thomas’s journey to restored faith.
I. FIRST, WE SEE THOMAS THE POUTER – John 20:24 – “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.”
All the Apostles and other disciples were present the day when Jesus appeared to the disciples behind closed doors…all except Thomas, that is. Why wasn’t Thomas there?
Well, the Bible doesn’t actually say, but I think we can surmise some things. Remember that the meeting with the disciples behind closed doors happened in the evening of the day of Jesus’s resurrection—on Sunday. The disciples were scared and grief-stricken and disappointed and disheartened, but they all stuck together…except Thomas. He may have had another engagement, but I find it hard to believe that anything was more important than being with the disciples during this stressful time. Why was he A.W.O.L.?—I think he was POUTING.
On this day in our text, Thomas’s worst fear has come true. His and the other disciples’ hopes had been crushed. From their perspective, all was lost! So, I think Thomas was heart-broken and disillusioned. And I think he was ashamed at how all the disciples had failed Jesus in His hour of greatest need. I mean, Thomas knew this was not been their finest hour.
So, I think he just wasn’t in the mood for socializing. He wanted to be alone to brood and mope. He didn’t want to be with others right then, even with his friend. So rather than attend the first ever Sunday service without Jesus, he wallowed in his sorrow and shame alone!
Do you ever feel like that? Maybe you’re going through some sad time in your life, or you feel the Lord has let you down, or maybe you know the Lord hasn’t let you down, but you don’t like what He’s allowing in your life anyway, and you just don’t feel like going to church or homegroup or Bible study. You’d rather brood and stay in your funk and feel sorry for yourself.
If you’re in that situation, that’s exactly what you should NOT do! I cannot tell you how many times as I preached a sermon, knowing what someone was going through, it occurred to me that what I was preaching or teaching was EXACTLY what someone needed to hear…but they had listened to the voice of negativity and defeat, or perhaps the enemy, who, knowing what the sermon was going to be about, whispered those words of negativity and defeat into that person’s ear. It’s usually the time you don’t come that you miss the greatest blessing…the very blessing you need for that moment in your misery.