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Easter 2001 -- Meeting the Risen Lord 2 -- Thomas

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Reading: John 20:19-31
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.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:27-28 (NIV)

I.   Thomas Refuses to believe

     A.  He refuses to believe his Friends

           1.  It’s not easy disagreeing with 10 people!

                 a.  Jewish law requires 2 or 3 witnesses

                 b.  Here there were (at least) 10!

           2.  It’s not easy disagreeing with 10 friends!

                 a.  Not just 10 people, 10 friends.

                 b.  Didn’t he know them? Or was that why?

           3.  Who does he think he is?

                 a.  Does he think he’s smarter than them?

                 b.  Is he so hurt he can’t consider this?

     B.  He refuses to believe Jesus

           1.  Thomas was ready to die with him(?)

                 a.  John 11:16

Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

                 b.  But not ready to believe Him on this

           2.  Has he given up on the “Jesus thing?”

                 a.  The Messiah wasn’t supposed to die

                 b.  Maybe all he’d lived for was a lie.

                 c.  Where was he that first time?

           3.  Jesus told them he would die and rise

                 a.  Did he (they) think it was a parable?

                 b.  How could this make sense?

                 c.  Do we take Him at His word – or only as far as it seems to make sense.

     C.  His willingness is Conditional

           1.  Thomas is not willing to believe unless

                 a.  Unless he has his own encounter with Jesus (that’s good–sort of)

                 b.  He wants more proof than necessary

                 c.  “Only what’s empirically verifiable . . .”

           2.  Seeing alone won’t be enough!

                 a.  Thomas says he needs to see and touch

                 b.  John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

           3.  What are our conditions for belief?

                 a.  Thomas’ conditions were reasonable

                 b.  What does/would it take for us?

                 c.  Do we see the evidence that’s there?

II.  “. . . believe” . . . “My Lord and my God”

     A.  Jesus comes in Peace

           1.  “Peace to you”

                 a.  “Shalom!” – the common greeting

                 b.  A wish for peace and well-being

           2.  He doesn’t seem angry or upset.

                 a.  His words plead, not chastise

                 b.  He comes willing to pass his test

                 c.  Even though he should have known!

           3.  He doesn’t confront our doubts with anger

                 a.  Doubt is as normal as growth

                 b.  Jesus is never as angry with doubt as with hypocrisy (pretending to believe)

     B.  Jesus offers Thomas his Proof

           1.  He offers to meet Thomas’ conditions!

                 a.  Because they were reasonable.

                 b.  Because He cared for Thomas

                 c.  To let Thomas stand where we’d want

           2.  Touch, see, put your hand in my wound

                 a.  Touch my hands. See, I’m real

                 b.  Reach into my side–I’m the crucified one

                 c.  Let there be no room for doubt.

           3.  Jesus comes to us in the way we need

                 a.  He knows our weakness

                 b.  He knows we need to come to faith being true to ourselves

                 c.  He comes to us the way we need Him to come

     C.  Thomas sees more than Scars

           1.  Jesus shows him more than proof

                 a.  He comes in peace–in love; that’s Jesus

                 b.  He comes to serve Thomas’ need

                 c.  He comes calling him to go deeper.

           2.  Thomas sees the scars, but he sees Jesus

                 a.  The scars he sees are trophies of love

                 b.  The Jesus he meets has conquered sin and death

           3.  When He comes to us, He shows Himself

                 a.  Not what we expect, but as He is.

                 b.  It’s not about the evidence, but Him

                 c.  We meet Him not a story, or a scar

III. Happy are we who believe without seeing

     A.  A blessing we often Doubt

           1.  Seeing is good, but not seeing is good too!

                 a.  Thomas believes because of more evidence than we’ll ever have.

                 b.  But believing when we can’t see, that’s where blessing is too.

           2.  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

                 a.  By definition faith is about the unseen

                 b.  Even the unseeable.

           3.  Thomas isn’t the only doubter!

                 a.  We’d usually rather see and touch.

                 b.  When we can’t see Jesus in our life, we don’t believe it’s a blessing.

                 c.  Believe anyway and you’ll find the blessing!

     B.  What is most important Can’t be seen

           1.  The scars weren’t the most important.

                 a.  The scars were real–as was Jesus

                 b.  It’s not the “That” but the “Who”

           2.  What our minds can comprehend isn’t most important

                 a.  Would God be God if we could reduce Him to empirical evidence?

                 b.  Or if we could understand all there was to know about Him?

           3.  We are small, who only trust our eyes.

                 a.  Our eyes can only see so much.

                 b.  Like Thomas we demand more than what’s necessary.

     C.  Jesus meets us in our Disbelief

           1.  He doesn’t demand Thomas change first

                 a.  He doesn’t put conditions on meeting Thomas – He just comes.

                 b.  Whatever you need to do – believe!

           2.  He doesn’t demand we change first

                 a.  First, believe it all, then I’ll come – NO!

                 b.  Don’t use your brain, just trust – NO!

           3.  He meets us in our doubts to remove them

                 a.  He doesn’t leave us doubting

                 b.  He calls us to deeper faith–deeper joy!

The Bottom Line:

Jesus meets us to Remove our Doubt. When we Can’t see, believe anyway!

R#295 I Know that My Redeemer Lives v.4

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