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Lesson 08 - Thomas - John 20 24 to 29

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INTRODUCTION

  1. So far we have seen Jesus call all kinds of people to be His DISCIPLES.
    1. We have met Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, and Matthew.

  1. They were all DIFFERENT,
    1. But Jesus had a PURPOSE for each one of them.

3.      We often judge people by one MISTAKE.

a.       We never let them FORGET it.

b.      Fur­ther, we never let the WORLD forget it.

4.      When we think of DAVID,

a.       We think of his SIN

b.      We forget what a GREAT man he was in spite of his FAILURE.

5.      When we think of JACOB.

a.       We think of how he stole his brother’s BIRTHRIGHT.

6.      When we think of PETER,

a.       We remember his DENIAL

7.      Shakespeare said; “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.”

8.      This is what happened to THOMAS.

a.       No doubt, he showed great faith many times,

  1. What FIRST comes to your mind when you think of THOMAS?
    1. Probably the phrase "doubting Thomas."
    2. This is UNFORTUNATE because Thomas has gotten a lot of "BAD press."
    3. He is a much better DISCIPLE than most people think.
    4. Thomas was like people from Missouri - he was the "show me" disciple.
    5. He did doubt the RESURRECTION,

                                                              i.      So did ALL the other DISCIPLES until they had seen the risen Lord.

f.       In reality Thomas was one of the most LOYAL and STEADFAST apostles among the Twelve.

  1. In the first three GOSPELS, Thomas is only mentioned in the LISTINGS of the Twelve.
    1. However, in the gospel of John we get to know Thomas through THREE separate episodes.
    2. John also gives us Thomas' OTHER name

John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

    1. This name means "TWIN" which suggests he had a twin brother or sister.

  1. Since Thomas was among the disciples who went FISHING after the resur­rection, he was probably a FISHERMAN by trade    

John 21:2-3  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

 

WE KNOW THAT THOMAS WAS SKEPTICAL BY NATURE

 

A.   Thomas believed with much DIFFICULTY.

1.      One day when Jesus was preaching far from BETHANY

a.       His friend LAZARUS became seriously ILL.

b.      Lazarus’ SISTER, Mary and Martha, SENT for Jesus to come and heal him

c.       When WORD of Lazarus’ sickness reached Jesus,

                                                           i.      He WAITED for two days.

2.      The apostles remembered the MOB action on their last trip to JERUSALEM,

a.       PRESUMED that was the REASON.

b.      However, at the END of two days, Jesus said He was going to BETHANY.

c.       They PROTESTED, they PANICKED

                                                           i.      Bethany is only TWO miles east of Jerusalem.

d.      They have REMINDED Jesus the Jews had just tried to STONE Him  

John 11:8 The Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

e.       Going back to Bethany must seem like SUICIDE to the disciples.

3.      Jesus ANSWERED

John 21:14-15 Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him

a.       It appears SOME of the disciples are so FRIGHTENED they are getting ready to DESERT the Lord Jesus,

b.      At this point THOMAS enters the scene.

John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

 

4.      This shows Thomas' deep LOVE for Jesus 

 

a.       He could see NOTHING but disaster ahead.

B.  We must hasten to add that some of the most creative spirits who have ever lived have been of this nature.

    1. In the Scriptures we find this tempera­ment in Job, David, and Elijah & Jeremiah.

         a. If Thomas was pessimistic, he had plenty of company.

C.  Again, when Jesus sought to assure the disciples of eternal life, the spirit of Thomas was revealed

John 14:2-3 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.  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.

 

1.      Thomas broke in,

John 14:5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

 

2.      Thomas could NOT accept things without QUESTIONING them.

a.       He was a PESSIMIST

b.      He was a REALIST who wanted to be sure.

c.       PESSIMISTIC people like Thomas are normally DIRECT and BLUNT.

                                                           i.      They rely heavily on LOGIC

                                                         ii.      They want complete DETAILS.

                                                       iii.      They want to know all the FACTS in advance

                                                       iv.      They want to PLAN carefully.

                                                         v.      Therefore, they typi­cally ask a lot of QUESTIONS.

Prov 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

 

                                                       vi.      The Hebrew word translated coun­sel means "PLANS."

d.      What does the last part of that verse say about the plans in a person's heart?

                                                           i.      We are WISE,   WHEN we will ask QUESTIONS.

                                                         ii.      SMART people always ask questions about things they DON’T understand.

e.       There's an old saying: "Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open your mouth and prove it."

                                                           i.      That's NOT true;

                                                         ii.      Smart people ask questions because they want to UNDERSTAND so they can AVOID mistakes and problems.

                                                       iii.      Thomas was a SMART guy who was a little PESSIMISTIC

f.       Pessimistic people always have a lot of QUESTIONS and look at the  PROBLEMS rather than the POSSIBILITIES.

D.  Thomas REFUSED to believe the RESURRECTION

1.      Even AFTER the other disci­ples TOLD him that they had seen the Lord,

a.       Thomas said, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails. . .I will not believe”  John 20:25

b.      Thomas had to SEE for himself.

c.       He was the LAST to believe the RESURRECTION of Christ from the dead.

d.      Don’t be so hard on Thomas

2.   Have we DOUBTED?

a.       MOST of us have.

b.      The psalmist cried out, “How long wilt thou forget me, 0 Lord, for ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me” (Ps. 13:1).

3.   Frederick. Robertson of Brighton, England, described his wrestling with doubt:

 “It is an awful moment when the soul finds that the props on which it has blindly rested, are rotten, when it begins to doubt whether there is anything to believe at all. It is an awful hour when life has lost its meaning, when the grave appears to be the end, when human goodness is nothing but a name, when the sky above is a dead expanse from which God himself has disappeared

THOMAS WANTED TO BELIEVE

A. There is a DIFFERENCE between HONEST and DISHONEST doubters.

 

1.      Some people just do NOT want to BELIEVE.

a.       They prefer a life of UNGODLINESS.

b.      They make up EXCUSES and BLAME others as a COVER for their own DISHONESTY.

2.This was NOT the spirit of THOMAS.

a.       Thomas WANTED to BELIEVE.

b.      He just WANTED to be SURE.

3.There are seven THOUSAND stars visible to the naked eye,

a.       But astronomers have counted twenty MILLION stars.

b.      Thank God someone DOUBTED what could be seen with the naked eye!

THOMAS FOUND SYMPATHY FROM JESUS

A. Christ blames NO one for wanting to be sure.

1. Jesus did NOT condemn Thomas for his DOUBTS.

a. Jesus knew that once Thomas fought his way through his doubts he would be the

    SUREST man around.

b. Jesus never says, ‘You must have NOT doubts,”

c. Rather, ‘You must STRUGGLE with your doubts until you reach certainty.”

2. Jesus appeared again and said to Thomas,

 

John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

 

a. Jesus spoke to THOMAS as a SINCERE dis­ciple whose faith was WEAK,

b. NOT as one with an EVIL heart of UNBELIEF.

3. Thomas’s answer was IMMEDIATE.

a. He FELL down at Jesus’ feet

b. And said  “My Lord and my God!”

c. His doubts VANISHED in the presence of the LIVING Christ

B.  Thomas has given ASSURANCE to all of us

 

1.     His confession was REAL

         a. It came from his HEART

2.     The GREATEST doubter – THOMAS - had the FIRMEST belief.

    a. Thomas declared his FORMER belief by saying: “The One who was dead is alive! This

         One who was crucified has become my Lord!”

    b.  He ACKNOWLEDGED Jesus as the Christ.

3.     Where would we be if it were NOT for the DOUBTERS

     a. GALILEO dared to doubt that the earth stood still.

     b. COLUMBUS dared to doubt that the world was square.

     c. The WRIGHT brothers dared to doubt that they could not fly

     d. Revolutionary DOUBTERS have changed the world.

THOMAS EMERGED STRONGER BECAUSE HE DOUBTED

A. His faith became STRONG

   

1.     TRADITION has it that he took the gospel to India.

 

2.     Tertullian said about the early Christians, “No man would be willing to die unless he knew he had the truth.”

 a.  They would NOT have died for a DREAM.

      b.  They would NOT have been loyal to a figment of the IMAGINATION.

      c.  Thomas emerged VICTORIOUS

      d.  He was FAITHFUL unto DEATH in his witness for God.

CONCLUSION

1.      Do you have doubts?

a.       Then you are a THOMAS

2.      Then DO as Thomas did:

a.       Keep doing the BEST you know right where you live.

b.      Keep FAITHFUL.

c.       Keep TRUSTING,

d.      Keep FOLLOWING,

e.       Keep SERVING,

f.       Keep PRAYING.

g.      God WILL reveal himself.

h.      He WILL show you the nail prints.

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