Summary: This is the 8th sermon in the "Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles" series.
Series: Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles [#8]
THOMAS- CHANGED FROM DOUBT TO FAITH
We often judge people by 1 mistake. We never let them forget it. Further, we never let the world forget it. When we think of David, we think of his sin. We forget what a great man he was in spite of is failure. When we think of Jacob, we think of how he stole his brother’s birthright. When we think of Peter, we remember his denial. This is what happened to Thomas.
John 20:24-29 (NIV)
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he 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.” 26 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!” 27 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.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas had showed great faith many times; but we remember him because of his doubt. Today when someone is skeptical, we call that person a doubting Thomas. In reality, Thomas was 1 of the most loyal and steadfast Apostles among the 12.
1. Was skeptical by nature.
Thomas believed with much difficulty. 1 day when Jesus was preaching, His friend Lazarus became seriously ill. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, sent for Jesus to come and heal him. When word reached Jesus that Lazarus was sick, He waited for 2 days. The Apostles, remembering the threat against Jesus on their last trip to Jerusalem, assumed that was the reason. However, at the end of 2 days, Jesus surprised them by announcing that He was departing for Bethany.
John 11:8-16 (NIV)
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
His comment seems to reveal excessive pessimism. He could see nothing but disaster ahead.
John 14:2-5 (NIV)
2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Thomas could not accept things without questioning them. He was a realist who wanted to be sure.
2. Wanted to believe.
There is a difference between honest and dishonest doubters. Some people just do not want to believe. They prefer a life of ungodliness. They make up excuses and blame others as a cover for their own dishonesty. This was not Thomas. Thomas wanted to believe. He wanted to be sure.
3. Found sympathy from Jesus.
Christ blames no one for wanting to be sure. Jesus did not condemn Thomas for his doubts. Jesus knew that once Thomas fought his way through the wilderness of his doubts, he would be the surest man around. Jesus never says, “You must have no doubts”; but rather, “You must struggle with your doubts until you reach certainty.”