Summary: This sermon deals with what happen when Thomas saw Jesus for himself. We can learn from this what we really have in Jesus.
TEXT: John 21:1
The capture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is over
The brutal treatment of him at the hands of Roman soldiers is over
The trial that found him guilty is over
The torturing and twisting of his body is over
The cruel fastening of his body to an old rugged cross is over
The bleeding wounds from his head, hands, feet and pierced side is over
The retrieval of his body from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus is over
The burial of his body in a freshly dug grave is over is over
The search for his body by the women who visit the tomb is over
All that Jesus had gone through is over his earthly body has been resurrected his mission to redeem man has been completed. Easter has been instituted and the very foundation of the New Testament Church has been secured.
The question now is what’s next. It is the gospel writer John that provides for us the most complete and comprehensive picture of the next sequence of events.
While Matthew, Mark and Luke all report on what we now call the “post-resurrection” events of the master, it is John that is the most specific and the most detail in his account of how Jesus continued his earthly ministry for a season, after the cross.
According to John, Jesus convenes a family reunion of his disciples just one week after his resurrection. On the one hand the summons to return to the same upper room where he last broke bread with them was redundant and repetitive since John tells us that he had seen nearly all of his disciples during the course of the previous week. But I imagine that Jesus was not prepared to return to the right hand side of his father until all of the disciples that he had spent time with and invested in had been securely bonded to the reality of his resurrection. John tells us that what makes this meeting of the disciples different from the previous encounters of the week is that Thomas, also called Didymus, who had not been present earlier was there to see for himself that Jesus was alive.
Permit me to insert right here that it is the preference of Jesus that none be lost and all be saved. I am not talking about the doctrine of “inclusionism”, that teaches that everybody is going to be saved regardless of what they do, which is being so hotly debated across the country right now, but I am suggesting to you that Jesus loves you so much until his heart desire is that you spend eternity with him.
Now the choice is up to you, you can choose to receive him into your life or you can choose to reject him. But HIS intent is that you be saved that he refused to return to heaven without giving Thomas and opportunity to choose Jesus for himself. And the Bible goes on to tell us that he had delayed his second coming until the whole world has heard his gospel. Why? Because he wants all mankind to live with him in glory.
Secondly let me point out to you that Thomas stood on the risk of losing his ultimate blessing because he made the mistake of forsaking the fellowship of the saints. Saints, there is a blessing in coming to church. Now I know there are some who are quick to point out that you can’t get saved simply by coming to church and I agree, church attendance alone will not save you. But it will strengthen your walk with the Lord.
Listen I just started a new diet because I am determined to live until I am 100. Now, to accompany my decision to follow this new life-style, I do not want to be around people who are negative and pessimistic. Always telling me that stuff don’t work, you might as well give up. No I want to be around people who are going to encourage me in what I am trying to do. I want to talk to people who have lost weight themselves, have great stories themselves, and have compelling testimonies themselves. Because when I see what they have done, it further convinces me that I can do the same thing.
People will sometimes say that they don’t go to church because of the people. But let me remind you that you go to church with people not because of people. Those same people did not wake you up this morning or make a way out of no way for you. Some people want to say that there are liar’s cheaters and hypocrites in church and my response is yes there are. But there are liars on your job, cheaters in the neighborhood where you live and hypocrites in your family. I don’t see you quitting your job, hiring a moving van and moving to another section of town or disowning those whose same blood runs in your veins. I have decided that I would rather go to church with a few liars, a few cheaters and a few hypocrites down here rather than die and go to hell and live with liars, cheaters and hypocrites for eternity.