Wednesday, April 15, 2015

John 20:19-29 Believe it? or not? continued


We're focused on Thomas this week. We saw that before Jesus went to Jerusalem, Thomas had said that they should all go with Him, and if need be, die with Him.

Later, Jesus told them that "In my Father's house there are many rooms" . . . and He was going to prepare a place for them. Jesus finished that statement by saying, "You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:4)

That's when Thomas piped up and said:

                   ....Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know
                   the way?  (John 14:5)

And Jesus responded to him:

                    I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
                    except through Me.  (John 14:6)

So when we look at Thomas, we are looking at a committed follower of Christ. He loves Him. He walks with Him. He is willing to suffer and even to die for Jesus.
But he has some questions. And he has some doubts.

Now, questions and doubts are not necessarily bad things. If our faith is a blind faith, and we never, ever examine what we believe and why we believe it, then our faith may not be as strong as it needs to be.
For instance, when someone asks us about some part of our faith, do we say "well, my preacher says" or perhaps "my parents taught me long ago" or something similar? That person is not asking that . . . they are asking what we believe. There's a big difference there!
Is our faith an inherited faith? Or a hearsay faith? Or is it a personal faith?

We need to know what we believe, and why we believe it! We need to come to a point in our journey when it is our own faith, not based on someone else's beliefs. That's when we get excited about what we believe, no?

Now, I don't mean to say that others' faith and knowledge is not important to us. Let me clarify with Paul's words, since he says it much better than I!

                  ...built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ
                  Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20)

Our faith is built upon the witness of others: the words of Scripture, the teachings of preachers and teachers, the faith of our parents and others that we respect. It's built on the experiences and the testimonies of other people -- that's where we get the information that we build our personal faith upon.
But Thomas wasn't considering the testimonies of his friends . . .

He had been confronted by the testimonies of the ten men who had been his closest friends for the past three years. Peter, James, John, Bartholomew, Matthew, Andrew . . . they were all telling the same story. All of them were excited, and they were convinced of what they had seen.

                      So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But
                      he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put
                      my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side,
                      I will not believe." (John 20:25)

Thomas completely rejects their words. He's being unreasonable, some would say. Many of us would look at his previous attitude, and compare it with this one . . . Jeepers! What's up with Thomas?

And here is something to think about: we all recall the first words of his response, right? Unless I see the nail marks, etc, etc......

But look at the last part of his statement -- Unless I see and touch, I will NOT believe.

Ouch!
Thomas, you could have said, "I have my doubts."
Or, "I'm having trouble accepting it."
But no, you said, "I will NOT."
Does that strike you as Thomas telling God what he would accept as proof? Whoa. Let's look at this tomorrow and settle all of this, OK?

2 comments:

Cathy said...

To go from so much faith, to seemingly none, is strange. I wonder if he was afraid to believe. Afraid of having his hopes dashed, like they had been by Jesus' death.

Belinda said...

I can't help but wonder how they could be so confused since Jesus continually told them what was going to happen. Were there minds blocked? Did He speak in riddles they didn't comprehend? They were all so frightened after Jesus' death, it's not really surprising, considering their confusion that Thomas needed proof. Like Cathy said, maybe he was afraid it was too good to be true. Or maybe he was afraid that if it was, his life would never be safe again.