Message From Matt | December 7, 2018

“The other disciples therefore said unto him (Thomas), 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.  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.  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.” – John 20:25-27

 

Ever wonder what those eight days were like for Thomas from the time that he said he would not believe unless he put his hands into Jesus’ wounds until the very moment that he did?  That’s the thought that has been running through my mind but I know that  I won’t know the answer…so I am left to wonder and speculate. I have wondered why he didn’t believe until he saw it.  I have wondered what experiences he had witnessed or influences that he had had that led to his unbelief.  Here are the thoughts that come to my mind…

 

Staying in his stubbornness…

Thomas had to be stubborn!  Since he said he wouldn’t believe, then he was going to stick by it!  The other disciples that saw Jesus had to keep trying to convince him, but Thomas wasn’t going to have any of it.  He saw Jesus die on the cross and be buried and for some reason he decided not to believe that it was possible that Jesus rose again!  Did he forget that Jesus told them that he was going to die and rise again (

Matthew 16:21

)?  Did he think that the other disciples were a bunch of liars?  Or was he just prideful and didn’t want to give in to the hysteria? Whatever the reason is, he was determined not to believe unless he saw and felt for himself!  

 

Wondering “what if”…

Then I think that he had to have sometime in those eight days when he wondered “

what if”?  “What if Jesus really was alive?”  “What if the other guys weren’t lying or crazy?”  “What if I have really blown it for not believing?”  “What if I don’t get the chance to redeem myself to Jesus and the guys?”  

Maybe, just maybe, he wondered “what if” he was wrong?  

 

Then there’s the  moment he saw Jesus…

“What have I done?”  “Why didn’t I believe?”  “Why did I wait 8 days to believe?”  “Why did Jesus wait 8 days to show Himself to me?”  I think that he had to be thinking something like this when Thomas saw Jesus.  He had to have regret and guilt as he was looking in the face of Jesus.  He had to wish that he had chosen to believe rather than to be stubborn!  Can you imagine what it had to be like for Thomas to look Jesus in the face, knowing that he should have believed?  I know that I would hate to be defined by one sinful act or bad decision but maybe that is what Thomas needed to fuel his faith!  He did move from a disciple to a doubter, then being devoted and finally dying for Christ.  

The effect on Thomas seeing Jesus was that he would never doubt in Jesus again!  He took what we believe was the worst eight days of his life and used that to propel his faith moving forward!

 

What about you?

What’s your faith like?  Do you believe what God’s Word says or are you struggling with doubt and worry?  Maybe you have heard all your life about how God is good but lately you haven’t been believing it?  Maybe you have fear about what lies ahead of you for your future and struggle to believe that God is with you or will help you?  Maybe you are just being stubborn or maybe you have been hurt so much that you just don’t know what to believe anymore? If any of those thoughts fit you, let me encourage you with these truths:

  1. God’s Word is true! (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17)
  2. God’s love is real! (John 3:16, 1 John 4:18)
  3. God’s goodness is towards you! (Exodus 34:6-7)
  4. God’s presence is forever! (Hebrews 13:5)
  5. God’s faithfulness is great! (Lamentations 3:23)
  6. God’s power is limitless!  (Ephesians 3:20-21 – “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”)

Let’s not have the regret of the “what if’s” in our life!  Let’s choose to believe in God, get in His Word and let our faith grow!  A large part of growing a healthy church is growing faith in God!  It’s my hope that IBT’s faith will continue to grow stronger – let’s commit to that! 

 

See you Sunday!