Summary: In our journey to see Jesus, the way His disciples saw Him after the resurrection, I want to tell you a story of someone who missed out. At least at first…
Thomas Sees Jesus: Series – Seeing Jesus
John 20:24-29 Apr 29, 2007
Have you ever felt like you really missed out? Like others around you got to experience something that you didn’t?
Every year we have an annual “pastor’s and spouses” conference in November. In Banff. At the Banff Springs hotel, where we have such a strong and long history that we get great rates for a great conference in their great facility. Most years I attend with thanks to you, my church, for sending Joanne and I for these 3 days of connecting with others pastors, professional development through the sessions, and some relaxation and inspiration.
Last November, I really needed to go. I needed to be around my friends and peers in ministry, Joanne and I needed to get away, I needed the time to sit in worship where I wasn’t responsible, didn’t have to preach, didn’t have any expectations, and could just pour my heart out to God and see Him and meet Him and be refreshed. It was even over Joanne’s birthday, and we so we were both very much looking forward to going.
Joanne and Thomas had gone ahead of me and were in Calgary already, and I drove down Sunday after preaching, and we were to leave on Monday for Banff. Sunday night, in the middle of the night, Thomas got sick. Joanne and I hoped, and prayed, held out for improvement so we could maybe still go Tuesday, but nope. We had to cancel.
Let me tell you, we were disappointed. It was unavoidable – one of those things that life throws at you that you just deal with – but we were disappointed. For me, a big chunk of the disappointment was in knowing that I was going to see Jesus, that God was going to be there, that it was going to be a time of refreshing and inspiring and connecting, and I knew that many good friends would be there getting to experience something, and I missed out.
Can you relate to that feeling? Especially from the spiritual side – do you ever feel like you are missing out? Maybe as you heard stories earlier of where people are seeing God in their lives, you feel like you are missing out… Maybe it comes from a conversation with a friend, who shares something that God has done in their life, and you look at your life and feel like you are missing out. Perhaps it is even from taking a look at your own life and remembering a time when you were more spiritually alive – you were walking more closely with God – you were living in more of His power every day and seeing amazing things happen in you and your family and in your ministry, and then you contrast that with today and you think “I am missing out…” Can you relate? It is like you are walking by a dining room, and can see and smell this incredible buffet, smiling faces sitting at tables and enjoying the feast, and you are left outside feeling hungy.
In our journey to see Jesus, the way His disciples saw Him after the resurrection, I want to tell you a story of someone else who missed out. At least at first…
Where was Thomas? (Jn 20:24-29 NLT)
“One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came.”
Already, I have to back up to last week’s story. Hopefully you were here as we talked about this incredible experience that the disciples had. It was the evening of resurrection day, two disciples had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus and had returned to Jerusalem to tell their story of this incredible news that Jesus is alive. Luke told us that while they were telling their story, Jesus Himself appeared. Wow! What an experience – most of them, for the very first time, saw the resurrected Jesus. They got to see, to hear, to touch, to experience for themselves the incredible miracle of resurrection…
Here is a little tiny detail from Luke, worth noticing: “within the hour they (the Emmaus road disciples) were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them… and they told their story” (Lk 24:33).
Notice this – all eleven remaining disciples (Judas, the betrayer, was the 12th disciple and was obviously the missing one) were there when these two arrive and begin to tell their story. But now John tells us “Thomas was not with the others when Jesus came”. He was there at the start, but not when Jesus shows up. He heard the beginning, but then he missed out. The best part was coming, everyone else got to see Jesus, but Thomas wasn’t there.