Lesson 13 - Thomas - When Your Faith is Shattered
1. We have SEEN how Jesus called all kinds of people to be His disciples
a. We have met Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Matthew and Thomas
b. They were all so DIFFERENT
c. BUT Jesus had a PURPOSE for each of them
d. SAME as with YOU and me
2. Want to go back and visit with THOMAS a little more
a. We looked through Thomas how pessimistic people can become POSITIVE
b. Want to look at Thomas’ experience that SHATTERED his faith
3. Have you ever had your faith SHATTERED?
a. Of course not you say, well down deep we all have had those bone crunching, faith shattering experiences
b. Thomas did
c. Let us look at HOW to get through such a time as that
FIRST: SEEK OUT FELLOW BELIEVERS
John 20:19-24 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose so ever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained.
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
1. We read back in John 14 where Jesus tells His disciples that He is going AWAY
a. Then chapters 15 thru 19 we find Jesus
i. TEACHING them
ii. PRAYING for them
b. Jesus tells of
i. His BETRAYAL
ii. His ARREST
iii. His CRUCIFIXION
2. Three days later we HEAR of Thomas
a. Third time in the book of John
b. Verse 24 shows us that Thomas’ FAITH was shattered
c. Confused, bewildered the DISCIPLES had met together
d. WHY? To CONSOLE, to COMFORT each other
i. It was the EVENING of the DAY
1. The DAY when Jesus ROSE from the dead
ii. Certainly in that room they discussed the women’s report
iii. Certainly they discussed the report of the EMPTY tomb
e. We find that they are meeting in SECRET
i. The doors are SHUT and LOCKED
ii. Verse 19 tells us why - they were in FEAR of the Jews
iii. They were NOT sure what to make of it all
3. And WHILE they were meeting – what HAPPENED
a. Jesus APPEARED to them
b. There He IS
c. Those shut and LOCKED doors could not keep Him OUT
d. But STILL the disciples needed some convincing
e. Jesus SHOWS them His hands and His side
f. The Disciples NOW are beside themselves
g. Their SORROW has turned into JOY
h. Just as Jesus said
John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
4. Jesus did NOT say that their sorrow would be REPLACED by joy
a. Jesus said that their sorrow would be TURNED into joy
b. What made them SORROWFUL will be the SAME thing that will make them JOYFUL
c. In the SAME way that one day the PROBLEMS that bring us sorrow NOW will be turned into SOURCES of JOY
d. We have all seen that life on earth sure brings a lot of GRIEF
e. That life on earth is UNFAIR
f. We can’t explain why God sometimes let good people suffer so much
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
i. In ancient days mirrors were NOT made of glass with silver back coating, but from polished brass
ii. The best they could see was a blurred or vague image
g. Paul continues in verse 12 that in the PRESENCE of Jesus
i. The vague,
ii. The unclear WILL make SENSE
1. Our SORROW will be turned into JOY
h. Jesus, the Light of the World, will put our problems in PERSPECTIVE
i. ONE DAY it will ALL make sense
5. In John 20, the disciples were so SAD
a. Their hearts were full of SORROW
b. Now Jesus turns their SORROW in JOY
c. But NOT all of the APOSTLES are there - Thomas is MISSING
6. Thomas got an UNFAIR shake here
a. Thomas was NOT the only one who DID NOT believe Jesus would RISE from the dead
b. When Mary Magdalene tells the disciples Jesus is alive
i. That she has seen Him
ii. They DIDN’T believe her
Mark 16:11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
c. BEFORE Mary came to tell them that Jesus’ body was gone, NOT one of them had gone to check the tomb
d. So much for that grave side service
e. AFTER Mary’s report, THEN Peter and John DID go to see for themselves
John 20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
f. You got to admit, it is not EASY to believe somebody could rise from the dead
7. BUT sadly, Thomas was absent from the FIRST church service AFTER the resurrection
a. He MISSED a wonderful BLESSING
b. Thomas did NOT go to the service because he didn’t EXPECT Jesus to be there
c. Sadly, many BELIEVERS miss church services today for the SAME reason
d. They have FORGOTTEN the promise of our Lord
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
8. If we are pessimistic like Thomas, we will DOUBT anything wonderful happening when we COME to church
a. BECAUSE Thomas missed ONE service, he missed out on a WONDERFUL time
b. EVERY TIME we miss church we LOOSE
i. LOOSE out in the possibility of an amazing SPIRITUAL experience
c. The most EXCITING times in our Christian life often take place in a CHURCH service
i. We see God’s SPIRIT at work
ii. Souls SAVED
iii. Souls REDEDICATED
d. If you REALLY believe Jesus is PRESENT in our service you will say what the Psalmist said:
Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
e. When you FAITH is shattered the BEST place to be is among OTHER believers
SECOND: BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR DOUBTS
John 20:25-29 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord.
1. A brother does NOT leave a brother OUT in the cold
a. The disciples go out and FIND Thomas
b. TELLING him what had HAPPENED
c. Thomas is HONEST saying – NO WAY – IMPOSSIBLE
d. Thomas would NOT believe that Jesus is ALIVE unless he sees the nail MARKS on Jesus’ hands and put his hand into Jesus’ SIDE – verse 25
e. Thomas is really DEPRESSED
f. Thomas is so DISAPPOINTED that he won’t even BELIEVE what his fellow disciples say
g. Talk about having ones FAITH shattered
2. Jesus UNDERSTANDS when we have those FAITH failures
a. Moses had his DOUBTS
b. Elijah had his DOUBTS
3. When Moses’ faith was shattered what does he pray?
Numbers 11:15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
4. Elijah’s faith was shattered when Jezebel tells him she is going to have him killed
a. Elijah runs into the desert
b. Find a juniper tree and prays
1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
5. You would think these TWO would be the WORSE to ever seek after God
a. But WHO do we see when Jesus was TRANSFIGURED before His disciples?
i. MOSES and ELIJAH
ii. The ONLY two OT saints to APPEAR with Jesus
b. These DOUBTERS are considered to be the two GREATEST saints in the OT
6. Thomas ADMITTED his DOUBTS
a. Jesus KNEW how he felt anyway
i. Thomas was just be HONEST
b. When we have those FAITH FAILURE days, and we will
i. Just be like THOMAS
ii. Be HONEST – admit your DOUBTS
c. IF you do, Jesus will DO for you what He DID for Thomas
7. About a week AFTER Thomas told the disciples that he HAD to SEE Jesus’ hands and TOUCH his side, there is ANOTHER meeting
a. THIS time Thomas IS with them
b. The doors are again SHUT and LOCKED
i. Dangerous times for followers of Jesus
c. And WHO should appear
John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
d. IMMEDIATELY Jesus WALKS over 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.
e. OK, who TOLD Jesus what Thomas said?
i. WHO spilled the beans
ii. NONE of the disciples had SEEN Jesus since His appearance a week ago
f. No question NOW in Thomas’ mind
i. Thomas KNEW this was JESUS
ii. Thomas KNEW that Jesus KNEW what he had said
iii. Thomas is OVERWHELMED
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
8. Thomas ACKNOWLEDGES Jesus as HIS Lord and HIS God
a. Not JUST the Son of God
b. This is the GREATEST of all recorded confessions
c. BUT it gets BETTER
d. AFTER Thomas responded, Jesus replies
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
9. Jesus records this WHOLE event to teach us a LESSON
a. Be HONEST about your doubts
b. Jesus UNDERSTANDS our doubts and wants to HELP us overcome them
10. I ended our last lesson on Thomas saying he went to India
a. Preaching the RESURRECTED Christ
b. It was THERE in India that he was martyred by being run through with a spear
c. Thomas was BURIED near Madras, India
1. When your FAITH is shattered
a. Assemble with OTHER believers
b. ADMIT your DOUBT