Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to inspire the hearers to affirm to others that believers are often inclined to look at life through the eyes of gloom, and need VISUAL EVIDENCE before accepting CHRIST at His Word.

19 April 2009

Second Sunday of Easter

U.S. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Ken Harris

Fortress Chapel

Contingency Operation Site (C.O.S.) Sykes

Tall-afar, Iraq

BIG IDEA: Believers are often inclined to look upon life with the eyes of gloom and need VISUAL PROOF before accepting CHRIST at His WORD.

REFERENCES: Thomas; tom’as – Hebrew and Aramaic: Twin; Greek: Didymus; Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching; Matthew 27:63 (ESV) and said, Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise,’

Matthew 16:21 (ESV) From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them diligently seek him; John 20:19-23 (ESV) – Jesus Appears to the Disciples; John 20:24-29 (ESV) - Jesus and Thomas; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 ESV (For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep); 1 Peter 3:18-19 ESV (For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison); John 20:1-18 (ESV) The Resurrection and the account of Jesus Appearing to Mary Magdalene; Acts 10:34-43 (ESV) Gentiles Hear the Good News of “No Partiality from Peter; Mark 16:1-8 (ESV) The Resurrection; John 14:6 (ESV) I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; Psalm 16:10 (ESV – Rise from the Dead) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption; Hebrews 6:18 (KJV) That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; Matthew 12:40 (ESV) says: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s bell: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights: in the heart of the earth; John 11:16 (ESV) So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”


II. READ THE PERICOPE: John 20:24-29 (ESV)

III. READ THE TEXT: John 20:25 (ESV) 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.”

IV. PURPOSE: To inspire the hearers to affirm to others that believers are often inclined to look at life through the eyes of gloom, and need VISUAL EVIDENCE before accepting CHRIST at His Word.

V. SERMONIC THEME: “Thomas Twin Didymus”



In popular theology the term “doubt” is often given a prominent place. It means hesitation, uncertainty, or suspicion.

Depending on one’s theological tradition, it may be used to look specifically at one’s relationship with God and His Word.

For who can ever forget the incident of Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus – The Word of God that became Flesh – and Peter began to sink?

In response to Peter sinking, (in Matthew 14:31 ESV) Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Last Sunday, Jesus instructed Mary Magdalene to tell the eleven disciples to meet him in Galilee at a particular mountainous location. The Good Book says (in Matthew 28:17) that when the eleven saw him “they worshiped him, but some … DOUBTED.

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 1: Still – in the midst of some believers DOUBTING - Jesus came in the midst of them and utter the “GREAT COMMISON” saying in Matthew 28:19 ESV: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

a. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

b. Now, my brothers and sisters, the GREEK WORD used to express the idea of DOUBT in both Matthew 14:31 and Matthew 28:19 is “dis-tazo”.

c. “Dis-tazo” means “to waver uncertainly”.

d. So the rhetorical question this morning is “what is the antidote or the remedy” to DOUBT and wavering faith?

e. What is the antidote or the remedy to DOUBT and wavering faith?

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 2: I submit to you today that DOUBTING is a part of every believer’s CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.

a. All believers have had – at some point in their life - a “THOMAS Twin Didymus” experience.

b. A “Thomas Twin Didymus” Experience is defined as an experience where you have - at times - demonstrated your dedication to CHRIST and the CROSS; while at other times you haven’t.

c. For instance, although on the outer surface, you’re the same person. You have the same name, same affiliations and the same address. But, inwardly you are different. Right now, you’re having DOUBTS (about something God has promised you). Your faith is wavering!

d. In fact, if your friends and family didn’t know any better; they would probably assume that you were a “twin”. Because RIGHT NOW if your thoughts could be heard – you are DOUBTING that GOD can do it. YOU are having trouble accepting GOD at His WORD.

e. But, it wasn’t too many days ago, WHEN YOU WERE sharing YOUR FAITH and Having a MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE in GOD.

f. So, what is the antidote to DOUBT?

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 3: In Romans 4:19-21, the Apostle Paul points to Abraham and describes the patriarch as being fully aware of his own advanced age and of the fact that …

a. … Sarah – his wife – had gone far beyond menopause.

b. The fact is clear: no child can possibly be conceived by these two. Yet God appears to them and promises that Abraham will father a multitude.

c. Paul says of Abraham, “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead …

d. … – since he was about a hundred years old – and Sara’s womb was also dead.

e. Yet he – Abraham - did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God …, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised”

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 4: DOUBT is the opposite of faith. The antidote to DOUTB is FAITH!

a. We need only to realize that whatever our circumstances are, the overriding fact is the reality of God. God has power to do what he has promised.

b. Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) says: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;

c. If we could see the things that we’re hoping and trusting God for; then it would not be faith.

d. Sometimes FAITH that has OVERCOME DOUBT is stronger and hardier than FAITH that has NEVER DOUBTED.

e. Now, in our text today, “Thomas Twin Didymus” is a personality that many us can identify with at some point in our Christian journey.

f. Many of you can even recall sermons you have heard about Apostle THOMAS, and how preachers, pastors and evangelist have jokingly and in other cases emphatically called him “Doubting Thomas”.

g. I too have been guilty of the “doubting Thomas” cliché’.

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 5: But how many of us can recall the incident regarding The Death of Lazarus (in the Gospel of John 11:11-16)?

a. For don’t your remember, two days after our Savior had been notified of Lazarus’ illness and had requested to travel to Judea;

b. He was warned by his disciples that there were Jews who wanted to stone him. Afterwards, Jesus was questioned about his intent to go into a dangerous area.

c. The Good Book says: After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.

d. The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”

e. Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.

f. So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 6: Now, my brothers and sisters, “When Thomas heard that Jesus was determined to go to Bethany, he spoke with determination and dedication.

a. In fact, if John 11:11-16 had been the only passage of Scripture where words of Thomas were uttered.

b. Thomas, instead of being ridiculed, by preachers, and pastors would perhaps be best known for his DESTERMINATION AND DEDICATION to the Lord. Instead of DOUBT.

c. Not many men would knowingly go where suffering and death might be present.

d. In the Story of Lazarus, Thomas was strong-minded, determined and dedicated to follow Jesus even though his life would be in jeopardy.

e. The Good Book implies that Thomas knew how close Jesus had been to death at the hands of the Jews in John 10:39.

f. Still, he was willing to die rather than forsake his Savior.

g. In fact, if the truth was told, it was THOMAS’ brave determination that encouraged the other disciples to go along with Jesus to Bethany.

h. Yet, “THOMAS Twin Didymus” has been labeled “a pessimist”; But the fact of the matter is we have all – at times - been pessimistic too.

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 7: Like THOMAS, in our text today, there are times in our Christian Journey when we need VISUAL PROOF, from CHRIST HIMSELF, before WE BELIEVE.

a. Resurrection Sunday was last week; and like some that are present today but was absent last week – Thomas missed Resurrection Sunday.

b. Thomas had forsaken to assemble himself together with the other disciples (Hebrews 10:25 KJV) …

c. But, today, is the Second Sunday of Easter and Thomas is present. He is naturally skeptical.

d. For don’t your remember, Thomas Twin Didymus .. was the disciple – at the Last Supper – who responded after the famous words of Jesus:

e. Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

f. … I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.

g. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? Thomas was skeptical. He had DOUBTS.

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 8: Although, it’s not talk about a lot … the other disciples also needed visual proof before they would believe.

a. Don’t you recall … when Jesus entered the room of the locked door where the disciples were assembled on Resurrection Sunday and said: Peace be with you?”

b. The Good Book says (in John 20:20 ESV) When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

c. Still, in spite of the repeated assurances from his fellow disciples and colleagues that Jesus had risen, THOMAS Twin Didymus was determined and pigheaded about the fact that He had not risen.

d. He was so certain of the Death of Jesus that he wasn’t willing to give any credence to the reports that Jesus had spoken with others.

e. In fact, Thomas said, that he would NOT believe unless he could actually TOUCH Jesus’ body for himself.

f. He would not be satisfied UNLESS he SAW and TOUCH Jesus himself. Likewise, there are some in here (today) that are HAVING a THOMAS TWIN DIDYMUS moment.

g. It’s not that they won’t believe. It’s just that they will not be satisfied until they have a personal encounter with Jesus himself.

h. Some don’t just want to see the SCARS made by the nails in his hand; but they want to place their fingers in the place the nails have been.

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

CELEBRATION: (Isaiah 53:4-7):

The Good Book says: … Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.