Monday, October 31, 2016

2016-10-31 [Month of Mission 2016] 31. Helping a doubter

31. Helping a doubter

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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 it." 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."       (John20:24-29)
I was reading some reviews on a commentary and one particular reviewer said that the commentary in question stretches the mind and anchors the soul. The telling the story of doubting Thomas does exactly that.

Thomas was not with the other disciples when they met on that first Sunday evening of Resurrection Day? The indication is that he was devastated, discouraged, distraught and disappointed. That led to his distance from the disciples and the events surrounding the death of one he had followed.

Thomas is not one depicted negatively in the NT except in this instance. John 11:16 depicts him as a courageous man, willing to go to Judea and die with the Lord!

The verb said in John 20:25 means that the disciples "kept saying to him" that they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ alive. He cannot get his head around a deceased man rising from the dead and he wants absolute proof.

He is only asking for a repeat of the previous Sunday. I believe the Holy Spirit is allowing the situation to develop for our benefit. What comes out of the second Sunday meeting stretches the mind and anchors the soul.

Jesus had heard Thomas' words; nobody had to report them to Him. So, the next Lord's Day, Jesus appears in the room and stands among them. Here is the graciousness of the Son. Not aloof, not a mystery, but revealing himself to the disciples and Thomas. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. Here Jesus stands in their midst, giving full proof of his resurrection body. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the great revealers. He meets Thomas, the realist, at the point of his own need. There is no record that Thomas ever accepted the Lord's invitation to touch and feel. John 20:29 indicates that Thomas' testimony did not come from touching Jesus, but from his seeing Jesus. Jesus does not want his precious disciple hanging in the limbo of doubt. "Do not be unbelieving, but believing." Neither does he want you and I to be hamstrung by doubt and limited by indecision. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

My Lord and my God!" is the last of the testimonies that John records to the deity of Jesus Christ. So it is that the most outrageous doubter of the resurrection of Jesus utters the greatest confession of the Lord who rose from the dead. Then comes an additional beatitude written just for you and I: "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Thomas quit his doubt and the rest is history as they say.
Submitted by Dennis van der Spuy, husband to Pauline, now retired and living in Centurion

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