John 20:24-29 King James Version (KJV)
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 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. 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. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 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.
Easter was a finishing for Jesus because he finished the work of salvation. It was just the beginning of Christianity. Jesus makes this salvation available to all. His work was done in that regard while the work of the church was beginning. Jesus told his followers to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from all high. That’s what they did and what happened on the Day of Pentecost.
We never understood how to be a Christian until we became one. As children of God we’re followers and disciples. What saved us is our faith in his finished work on Calvary. Now we are by faith to successfully serve him in the work he has called each of us to do. To do so we must maintain that faith. We must grow and continue to believe. We cannot digress.
Thomas is called a doubter yet at other times he was the bold one. At Lazarus’ death he was the one who said that if there was in trouble for Jesus because was going to the home of Lazarus they would all die with him. In John 14 he’s the one who spoke up stating he didn’t know they way and asked how they could know it. These don’t really sound like a doubter yet we find him doubting after the resurrection. When Jesus appeared to the others that Easter Sunday evening Thomas was not present. Where was he? We don’t know and I’m not going to ask him when I see him. He might ask me where I was at certain times when I should have been somewhere else. According to church history Thomas preached in India and is called the Patron Saint of India. He wouldn’t want that I’m sure. It is said he was run through with a spear and then sawn in half. The fact is we all have times of doubt. It wasn’t just Thomas.
When Jesus visited the disciples he just appeared while the doors were closed. He spoke and that’s when they knew he was there. They told this to Thomas but he doubted it. So did many of them at first. Why weren’t the disciples the first to the tomb instead of the women? They were all guilty of doubting. So are we when we get down in our faith.
It’s not the deep rocks we need to uncover. Sometimes we trip over the simple precepts. Jesus says keep the faith. If you lose the ability to express yourself to God, just keep believing. Jesus knows that if the devil can wreck our faith we’ll go backwards. Sin begins when faith diminishes. Stay with the faith.
Thomas told the others Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. He had to see before he would believe. We have to be shown as well. There may have been larger crowds in churches years ago but Jesus is the same today as then. Our faith is not hinged on how many people are here. It’s not how noisy the services are. It’s not on what we can see but on what we can’t. We get in trouble when we throw out conditions. Lord, except, except, except….It’s one thing today and another tomorrow. Jesus won’t put up with that. He’s done all he can.
Don’t get discouraged or give up. Bear witness that Jesus is the crucified Redeemer of mankind. He is truly “my Lord and my God.” That’s what Thomas called him when he saw him. Thomas forgot that Jesus could hear all the conditions he put out. When Jesus appeared to them again the next week and Thomas was there, he went up to Thomas saying: 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.
Think about the wounds of Jesus in regard to what he told Thomas. That’s how big they were. Put a man’s finger and a man’s hand in the wounds. That means these were not little bitty wounds. Crucifixion wounds were large. Why hurt him again by doing what he said he’d do and what Jesus offered? Our doubts always do that. Didn’t Jesus hurt enough the first time?
Let’s not cause him anymore suffering. I believe Thomas went from standing to falling on his face. Jesus told Thomas Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. So many have to see to believe. According to what Jesus said it’s quite the opposite. Those who will just believe will see.
Be not faithless, but believing. These are the words of Jesus to all of us.