Sunday, October 12, 2014

Doubting Thomas

Today's sermon message was titled "Small Faith vs Big Doubt" and I can sum it up pretty quickly, so bear with me.

In matters of Faith, it is okay to have doubts, but it is not okay to stay there. After all, even one of the apostles, men who walked and ate with Jesus, doubted His resurrection. So, of course, we should look at the Gospel account of "Doubting Thomas:" John 20:19-28 and I'll use the New King James Version (NKJV).

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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

You can see why Jesus didn't knock on the door. The apostles would not have answered. They were in a closed room or house and afraid of the Jews. A knock on the door would have frightened them. Instead, Jesus simply appeared to them. Without opening the door. In a closed (presumably, locked) room.

Jesus can do this, you know. There is no door He cannot open, no wall He cannot breach.

When an angel appears to a person, the first thing the angel says is "Do not be afraid." Jesus instead gives them a gift - Peace. "Peace be with you," He said to them. Don't you want Peace? And don't we want peace in our lives the most when we've locked and barred the door to your lives?

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

The very breath of God gives life. He breathed life into each of us at conception. He breathes life into us again when He sends us forth as His ambassador into the world. Remember who you represent. Remember whose name you bear. It is a solemn duty to be the witness of God to the world. It is a privilege not to be taken lightly. Do we do what Jesus would do in our place? Do we pray for all the healing and hurting we encounter? Do we stop and help? I can't say that I always do so.

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Poor Thomas. His trusted friends all tell him the same thing, but he can't believe them. He probably thinks it is mass hallucination or just a nervous breakdown. They just couldn't handle the truth - that Jesus was gone forever. So he takes the road we all take. If I don't see it, I won't believe it. We do that every day, in all aspects of our lives. We do it because the world has taught us the harsh lesson that you can't be sure of anything until you see it, feel it, taste it, touch it, hear it. When we were children we believed without seeing, but we're grown now and we know better.

Yet, Jesus is not of this world. He is God incarnate. We call Him the Son because our minds are not capable of understanding the Holy One who is God and yet became Man. He is God, and if there is one thing we can believe in without seeing, it is the faithfulness of God, the knowledge that God will always be there for us.

That's a hard concept. That's why we doubt. God understands our doubt. He understood the doubt of Thomas. Look what happened.

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus appeared again and gave Thomas exactly the proof he asked for.

God always reveals Himself when we ask, when we wait for Him.

Like Thomas, we can only have one response to God appearing in our lives. "My Lord and my God!"
We all have troubles. We all hurt and doubt and struggle. God almighty can walk into your life through whatever doors you close and reveal Himself to you. Just ask.

Our God is not Dead, and He will show you His pierced hands and feet, the wound in His side. I hope He does.

God bless you all.

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