04/08/2018 - Seeing Is Believing?

May 10th, 2018

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“Seeing Is Believing?"

John 20:19-31

 

  • Learning from Thomas

    • The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is not the easiest truth to grasp and believe. Thomas was not shunned by the other disciples, and was not condemned by Jesus.  This should give us all courage.
    • Thomas believed, lost faith and returns to even greater faith.

 

  • The Character of Thomas: A Different Take

    • Thomas the Negative?

      • John 11:16 - "Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”"
      • John 14:5 - "Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”"
      • These two passages reveal a man who is not giving in to fear.
        • BUT he does seem to be a bit of a pessimist...
        • AND being brave while others hide in fear can make you a bit "puffed up..."
      • Thomas the Offended?
        • Easy to imagine: "Why would he choose to show up when he knew I wasn't there? Here I am being brave (unlike these fair-weather-disciples) and he doesn't appear to me?!?"
      • Thomas the Testy?
        • We do know this: Thomas failed the "do not put the Lord your God to the test" test. (see Deut 6:16; Luke 4:12)
      • Thomas the Honest
        • He did not try to hide his doubts...

          • Doubts which are left unattended can fester and grow, and can tear you apart.
        • Jesus knew Thomas. And Jesus knows you!
          • Jesus knows your doubts. He knows where you struggle in your faith.
          • If you honestly admit where you struggle with doubts, but you really want to know God in spite of them, He will lead you to a place where you will be content with the answers.
        • Joy in the Presence of the Risen Christ
          • The Reaching-Out of God

            • “Religion is about our reaching out to God; Christianity is about God’s reaching out to us.”
            • Willimon: “The resurrected Christ goes back to, and appears before the very same rag-tag group of people who so disappointed him, misunderstood him, forsook him, and fled into the darkness."
            • This is the dynamic of the Easter message. We don’t find Jesus, he finds us!
          • The nature of a post-Resurrection faith
            • Thomas was the pattern of what was to come:

              • faith beyond (immediate) sight; finding Jesus in the midst of his followers; confession of Jesus as Lord and God
            • The Last Beatitude:
              • Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29)
              • The Last Beatitude was reserved for us!
            • Seeing What Cannot Be Seen
              • There are things we believe that we cannot directly see (love of parents; faithfulness of a spouse). They are often the most important things of all!
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