This morning even as we celebrate Easter, I want us to consider yet another famous passage in the bible. This passage is none other than John’s account of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas. In today’s sermon I want to share with you my observations on the passage and their implications.
Text: John 20:24-29
(1) Unbelieving Thomas
(A) Thomas flatly thrashed the testimony of ten eye witnesses and demanded tactile evidence in order to believe that resurrection actually happened.
(B) Thomas implied his colleagues were either liars, hallucinatory or had seen a ghost themselves.
(C) His argument was based on the foolish logic that the resurrection wasn’t possible because he did not see the risen Christ with his own eyes.
(2) Gracious Jesus
(A) Jesus invited Thomas to put his finger in the nail prints and his fist in the spear wound. It was almost as if Jesus had heard his bold demand. Thomas was startled at this.
(B) In his appearance to Thomas, Jesus actually halted Thomas on the road to a despairing unbelief and offered him the positive evidence on which he could rebuild his faith.
(C) This was in no way an act performed under obligation to Thomas or because Thomas deserved it. It was purely an act of divine grace.
(3) Confessing Thomas
(A) John does not tell us whether Thomas did as he declared he must and as he was invited to do by Jesus. Some think he did, but it was no longer necessary.
(B) He takes a long leap of faith instead, confessing boldly that Jesus is his Lord and God indeed.
(C) Thomas gets no commendation from Jesus however. Rather, Jesus looks ahead to those who will believe through the witness of these disciples who have seen.
(A) Unbelief is arrogance
“I will not believe it – unless I see it” is the motto of modern man. This is foolish because we believe in many things that we haven’t seen. We believe that ice caps are melting but most of us haven’t seen any ice caps. We believe the testimony of those who have eye witnessed the melting. Likewise Christians believe in resurrection it has been recorded by apostles, the eye witnesses of resurrection. Then unbelief is nothing but arrogance.
(B) Self revealing God
Jesus appeared to Thomas because although arrogant he was still sincere. It is said that C. S. Lewis was born to a Christian family and became an atheist at the age of 15 when his mother died due to cancer but became a Christian again at the age of 32 after he was convinced of God’s goodness through his sincere quest to realize the existence of God. We too can doubt God in crisis. But if we are sincere God will always reveal him and reassure us.
(C) Beliefs are dynamic
Jesus’ words to Thomas can be translated “stop becoming an unbeliever and start believing.” Both believing and unbelieving are dynamic. We grow in one direction or the other. Crisis is just one of the occasions that determine the direction of our growth. Thomas after the crisis of the cross had been growing in the direction of unbelief and Jesus had to give him a new revelation. We already have the complete revelation of God which is his word to aid our faith in times of crisis.