Journey into Joy Series – Christ Appears to Thomas

Number 7 in a devotional series using as a resource the book, Journey Into Joy, by Andrew Walker.

Scripture; John 20:24-31

What key questions and unusual observations did you note as you read the passage? 

What is going on in Thomas mind that he made the statement that he did?

What is the purpose of displaying the wounds?

Thomas’s doubt ended well.

Verse 31 tells the purpose for John’s writing.

The blessing of v. 29 is very significant.

What are their implications for understanding the passage?

What is going on in Thomas mind that he made the statement that he did?   Obviously the immediate basis for Thomas’s statement was that he had not been present when the disciples saw the Lord and he needed to see him too.   But Jesus gives the second reason for Thomas statement; Thomas had doubt in his heart about what he had been told had happened, and he was hesitant to believe the report of the other disciples (verse 27).

What is the purpose of displaying the wounds?  

  • Jesus display of his wounds is a beautiful condescension to Thomas’s need to see. It speaks to us powerfully of God’s desire to answer our doubts and help us believe.
  • Perhaps it was partly an identity issue as wounds or scars can be used to identify a person.  Jesus’ display of his wounds for Thomas positively identified this person that Thomas was seeing as the one who had been crucified just days before.

Verse 31 tells the purpose for John’s writing. 

  • John’s reason for writing and his reason for recording the miracles that Jesus did was in order that his readers might believe in Jesus, believe both that he was the Messiah, and that he was the Son of God.
  • Especially significant is the use of the word “signs,” a keyword used 11 times in the book of John.   Jesus resurrection was the clinching sign confirming to everyone that he was both Messiah and Son of God. 

What is the role/significance of this event/passage in the Gospel story?

 

It is worth noting that this is the second consecutive first day of the week meeting of the disciples with Christ. 

When you stop to think about the fact that the gospel is likely being written down decades later, the most important statement in these paragraphs is the blessing that Jesus gave to those who would be reading this gospel, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29 NIV ).  This is undoubtedly the key reason that this particular event is included in this gospel.   What encouragement for the reader! What an incentive to behave differently than Thomas and trust the words of the apostles; “He is risen!”   John says that those who do will find life in Jesus name (v. 31). As

What inspirational “take home” impressed me?

Thinking about Thomas and how his doubts turned out so well forces us to ask some important questions about the role doubt can play in growing our faith.

  • §  What good can come out of doubt?  

When we have worked through our questions we know more firmly what we believe and we are able to help others through the same doubts.

  • §  What factors allow us to come through our doubts into a healthier place spiritually?   Keeping our minds open to learn more of what God would teach us; digging for answers; humility; willingness to CHOOSE FAITH – to submit to what God shows us.
  • §  What factors keep us from working through our doubts?    Pride; negative influence from others; conflict of interest with what God is showing us; laziness.

 

Doubt, no doubt, has played its part on our journey perhaps at times continues to do so. We can share Thomas’ need for certainty and desire for assurance, but it will at times make us miss the point or lead us to settling for something less than might have been.

Even so, if we are here, it is because on some level at least we believe though we have not seen, that in spite of our deafness we have caught something of the song. Doubt in this Gospel story leads to a different sort of encounter with Jesus, and so faith and doubt, in their different ways, and both lead to God.

Doubt without hope would be a different matter, for it can become inward-looking and selfish, but doubt with a desire for answers and a willingness to struggle or challenge can still lead to growth and transformation.
(From Journey into Joy, Stations of the Resurrection by Andrew Walker)

 

 

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