When I was growing up, my grandparents owned a lumberyard in a very small Oklahoma town. Local farmers would come in to buy supplies for various projects, but they would stay to talk about life. There was an elderly gentleman named Bill Hill who spent most of his days at the lumberyard, listening as the young farmers drifted in and out, leaving behind their larger-than-life tales. And like clockwork, at the end of almost every story, Bill Hill would mutter under his breath, “I’ll believe that when I see it.” In today’s passage, we read of a man with similar misgivings as Jesus makes another appearance to his disciples.
- What is it about us that causes us to want to see something for ourselves before we will attest to its reality?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 20:19-29 (ESV)
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 24-29.)
- How did Thomas learn of Jesus’ resurrection? What was Thomas’ response?
- How does verse 27 show that Jesus was both tender and firm with Thomas?
- What specific blessing did Jesus pronounce in verse 29?
- Are you holding on to disbelief right now in any area of your life because you cannot currently see with your own eyes Jesus’ movement in it? According to this passage, what would Jesus say about that?
RESPOND TO GOD
There is one adjective we always hear associated with the disciple Thomas: doubting. And perhaps Thomas did doubt. What we know for sure is that Thomas needed more evidence than just the testimony of his buddies to believe in the resurrection. But one thing changed everything. That thing? Jesus. Jesus changed everything for Thomas. Is there something in your world right now that you just can’t wrap your head and heart around? Ask Jesus to enter in. Is there something that you are waiting to believe until you can see it? Ask Jesus to enter in. We are not able to see him physically as Thomas did, but when we give up control and let Jesus enter in to our doubt, everything changes.
- Thank God that he is tender and firm with us when we struggle to believe.
- Pray that you would have the courage to believe even when you cannot see; then enjoy the blessing.