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From Pouter to Doubter to Shouter
We know less about Thomas than some of the disciples. We don't know his trade or how or when Jesus called him. [unlike several others]
He may have been a twin. Thomas is Aramaic for twin. Didymus is Greek for twin. We could speculate that Matthew was his twin, because they are often listed together. But we don't know.
Have you ever confused someone for their twin? You see your 'friend' in public and give a friendly 'hi' and they say, 'hello?' How rude!
Some of you gave birth to twins. How many of you have a twin? Fraternal like ours? Identical?
Back in high school I dated a girl who had a twin and I had the hardest time telling them apart. One day it dawned on me: Her brother was slightly taller than she was!
There are only about a dozen verses about Thomas...all in John, most in today's passage. And so for 2,000 years he has gotten a lot of bad press because he doubted. What's his nickname? Doubting Thomas!
But here's a couple of positives about him first.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Why did Thomas say this? In order for Jesus to go to Lazarus, He has to go back to Bethany, just 2 miles from Jerusalem, where Jesus is a marked man. The Pharisees are already conspiring to have them all killed, and the disciples know it. And yet Thomas is willing!
He may be known as a doubter but he was devoted...even unto death. We must emulate this! Christians are being killed all over the world today, and that could swiftly come to a nation near you! We have underground missionaries we support who put their lives on the line every day. Are you willing to follow Jesus, even unto death?
Thomas always wanted to be close to where Jesus was.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
You may see some doubting in Thomas' statement, but if you look closely, you will sense that he just wants to stay close to Jesus. He wants to go with Him if possible, just as he intended to join Him in going to Lazarus' tomb.
Jesus answered Thomas' question because it was sincere.
And we ought to do whatever it takes to be as close to Jesus as we possibly can! We should want to go where He is...which today, is heaven! Do you need to make sure? I don't care if you are a deacon, a s.s. teacher, a pastor's kid, or a long time member. Put your pride in one pocket, your dignity in the other, and do the respectable thing and make sure! [pastor's wife!]
Thomas was courageous and loyal! But now, back to the down side in our text...
1. Thomas the Pouter.
Jesus had been crucified, and it was the 3rd day, and the disciples are gathered in a room with the door bolted tight. They thought they would soon be arrested/killed. Jesus appeared miraculously without knocking on the door. There are 10 of them. We know what happened to Judas...but where is Thomas?
A quick examination of what we know about Thomas reveals his basic makeup is that of a pessimist. Many scholars believe he must have been off feeling sorry for himself - pouting, if you will.
Some people see the dark side of every situation...the dark cloud behind the silver lining. The glass is half empty!
ill.--Eeyore: "Mornin' Pooh...if it is a good mornin'." "Weather's still bad...but at least we haven't had an earthquake...lately!"
Have you ever worked with someone like that? Lived with?
He thought the worst case scenario. [go to Lazarus and die / Jesus is leaving us forever!]
The Christian disciple should say, Jesus can walk on water and raise the dead...we'll be ok, no matter what!