Focus: John 20:24-31
We often know him as “Doubting Thomas,” yet his sin was to be demanding and not doubting. Being a Christian means that you have doubts and questions. You can either come to God with an open heart or a stubborn mind. You can come asking why someone had to die or why life can be hard and find the answers you are seeking or demand God show you the proof before you will believe anything. Thomas made demands. This text shows us the vast gulf between coming humbly to our Lord with questions before His throne and crossing our arms and demanding that the Lord convince us with overwhelming evidence before we will believe.
A. The proof was demanded, not questions searched out. V.25 The Greek New Testament says that the other disciples kept telling him about their visit from the Lord. Thomas didn’t ask questions so that he could share in their excitement. He demanded that Jesus gives Him proof. It happens when people say that they will not believe in the Lord unless Grandma is healed. It occurs in a discussion when people say that they can’t believe in a God who would allow suffering in Africa.
B. The proof will come in Jesus’s time. V. 26 Thomas had demanded proof, but Jesus didn’t come right away. He waited for seven days so that the Thomas had heard the resurrection news dozens of times. Jesus doesn’t listen to our demands and pops back in when it is convenient for us. He comes at a time that will bring the most benefit. He comes at a time that He knows will lead to the most people coming to faith or growing in faith. The proof is on his timetable.
C. Proof may be gentile or scary. V. 27 How gracious it was for the Lord to stoop down and answer Thomas’s request. Seeing Jesus was all that he needed. God’s answer to our stubbornness may not be so gentle. Paul saw Jesus on the Damascus Road and was blinded. Nebuchadnezzar mocked God and was reduced to living like an animal. Sometimes Jesus answers our demands if we are open giving a rebuke but coaxing us toward faith. Others are so stubborn that He may have to break them before they are humble enough to listen
D. How will you respond? V. 28 It is all about our response. Thomas saw His Lord and friend standing before him and believed. He believed in the resurrection. He believed that Jesus was truly God. It is still about the response. A person’s life will be shaped by their willingness to accept and submit or their stubbornness and dismissal of the message God gives. Those who believe will find God’s help in the midst of their hurt. Those who dismiss God will be doomed to live in their pain perhaps for the rest of their life.
Turn to scripture when you have questions and doubts. V.31 The Holy Spirit abides there. As you read the words of scripture, He can chase away the demons that would pull you down and torment you. The dread of Satan will be replaced with the promises and hope of our Lord. Scripture is filled with stories of God working in the lives of His people. The Holy Spirit will use these words to fill you with life and expectation of God working in your life. God wants to answer your questions. He wants you to do so, however, with an open heart and a mind ready to believe everything in Scripture.