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Summary: Thomas believed when he saw the risen Jesus. How can we believe without seeing?

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DOUBTING THOMAS

John’s Gospel reveals that Thomas was loyal, but pessimistic.

Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16).

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5).

But [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25).

A CHANGED LIFE

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28).

Thomas applied to Jesus two titles of deity: “Lord” (kyrios) and “God” (theos). The most outrageous doubter of the resurrection uttered the greatest confession of the Lord who rose from the dead.

Thomas went from “Doubting Thomas” to “Daring Thomas”:

· Thomas may have taken the gospel as far east as INDIA.

“There is a considerable amount of ancient testimony that suggest Thomas carried the gospel as far as India. There is to this day a small hill near the airport in Chennai (Madras), India, where Thomas is said to have been buried. There are churches in south India whose roots are traceable to the beginning of the church age, and tradition says they were founded under the ministry of Thomas.”—John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men, p. 164

Today, Christianity is India’s third largest religion, with approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.3% of India’s population.—Census of India, 2001

· Thomas was MARTYRED for his faith in the risen Jesus.

“The strongest traditions say he was martyred for his faith by being run through with a spear—a fitting form of martyrdom for one whose faith came of age when he saw the spear mark in his Master’s side....”—John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men, p. 164

BELIEVING WITHOUT SEEING

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

I have with me three books: Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison, Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell, and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. What do these three authors have in common? All three were once skeptics of Christianity, but were converted when they studied the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.

· Christianity rises and falls on the RESURRECTION.

· If Jesus rose from the dead, He is LORD.

· If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, the gospel is a LIE.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).

This passage was probably part of an early Christian creed. Many scholars believe that Paul received it from Peter and James while visiting them in Jerusalem three years after his conversion (see Galatians 1:18-19). If so, Paul learned it within five years of Jesus’ crucifixion. The story of the resurrection was not a legend that grew over time. The disciples started proclaiming the resurrection just a few weeks after the crucifixion (see Acts 2).

How can we who have never seen Jesus be sure that He really rose from the dead?

1. The disciples were TRANSFORMED.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”—John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity, pp. 58-59

Then all of the disciples deserted him and fled (Matthew 26:56).

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is

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