Summary: He may be labelled by others as ’Doubting Thomas’- but he made the most succinct diagnosis and declaration about Jesus ever! Thank God for Thomas and his honest doubt.
The great declaration: Thomas. Jn 20:24-31.
WBC 27/3/5am. Easter Day
Seen Groundhog Day?
A Sunday School teacher was attempting to teach her young students the true meaning of Easter. "Why do we celebrate Easter?" she asked. When the children replied ’because of the Easter bunny,’ Easter eggs, candy, spring, etc., she said, "No, those are Easter traditions and symbols, but what is the REASON why we celebrate Easter? What happened at the very first Easter?" A little girl raised her hand and said, "Easter celebrates Jesus coming out of the tomb." "Yes!" said the teacher, excited and relieved that finally the correct answer had surfaced. Encouraged, she prompted, "Jesus arose from the tomb, and what does He do for us?" The youngster replied, "He looks to see if he can see his shadow, and if He can, he goes back in for another six weeks."
Contributed by: Abraham Shanklin, Jr. on www.sermoncentral.com
Poor old Thomas. Most maligned character in Scripture
- name synonymous with doubt. Webster’s dic: "habitually doubting"
- actually was a man of great integrity. Honesty & Character
o Jn 11 - "Lets go with Him that we may die with Him"
" Assessed situation realistically
" Commitment- I’ll die for this
- Jn 14, when Jesus is saying he’s going to leave them… prepare a place for them- "you know the way to the place I am going"
o While all are going "uhum. Yeah. Amen"- Thomas comes right out with it: "we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
o Provokes the ’great clarification’ from Jesus "I am the way…". Talking about spiritual life rather than geography
Great things often come out of honest questions and doubt
So - you can’t blame Thomas, here. For his questions, doubts. Can respect him even
- they hadn’t read (or perhaps better to say ’understood’) the script
- people do believe whappy things. David Ike. David Koresh. Those characters who killed themselves in wake of Hale-Bop
o Groundhog day kind of stuff
- stress makes people see… believe… act funny. PTSD
And he’s not closed. Just cautious.
- people don’t go rising from the dead every day
o Jesus did it to Lazarus. Didn’t equate to him that Jesus would do it for Himself
" Seems logical to us who have read the script
Besides- he had seen this Jesus die. He really WAS dead.
Only thing is- all this had led to a bit of a downhill spiral
- there’s nothing wrong with doubt and caution.. but if it leads you to a point where you CAN’T believe… it’s gone too far
o there are two key definitions for doubt
" 1= questioning
" 2= to have no faith at all
… and Thomas is in danger of locking into the second
- disappointed: hadn’t believed the truth about Jesus: military hero to make all go right down here (not unlike the package some sell today!)
- deserted Jesus
- knew He was dead
- distanced himself from the others
- denied what they were saying
- now was making some DEMANDS "Unless so and so happens I WILL NOT BELIEVE"
Your doubts and intellect have become unhealthy when your mind repeats words like: "will not"… "cannot"…"never"… "unless"
Thank God for Jesus
- Jesus isn’t about to let the work He’s started in anybody’s life just die
Thomas may be sounding like he’s ’testing the Lord’ (which doesn’t work)- but he is still seeking (which DOES work!)
- seek and you WILL find
And the next week he’s there. Showing willing. Going to the place where God might.. can find Him
- Illustr: Beth (if you’re lost, wait and we’ll find you)
o Going to the place where God can find you
And no door can keep Jesus out
- not the door of the huge tombstone
- not this wooden door, locked and bolted through fear
He shows up!
- meets Thomas where he’s at. Doesn’t make fun of him.
- not offended by Thomas’ questions. By honest questions, doubts
o in fact: seems to have come in response to them!
o just for Thomas! One person
" that’s how much you mean to God/Jesus!
" the one lost sheep!
Some questions need to be answered…thought through
- you may need to think through: "what did happen to Jesus’ body?"
o Romans had it- produce it
o Jews had it- produce it!
o Disciples had it- why die for it
"One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum: QUESTION- Dear sirs, Our preacher said that on Easter Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to life. What do you think? Sincerely Bewildered.
ANSWER- Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails 39 times, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun and elements for 6 hours, run a spear into his side, put him in an airless tomb for three days and see what happens. Sincerely Charlie."