Faith Of Our Fathers #3: Apostle Thomas

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John 20:24-29 (KJV) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Have you ever felt that thing we call “Doubt”?
Have you ever worried?
Have you ever felt your faith to be small?
Have you ever been a “Doubting Thomas”?

We all have experienced times when we have had doubts. Don’t self righteously say that you never have. You have. I have.

I just used a phrase “Doubting Thomas”. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before. I looked it up on “Google” the internet search engine and it said “The nickname of the Apostle Thomas”.

Who gave Thomas the nickname “Doubting Thomas”?
It wasn’t Jesus!

Every Apostle Doubted The Resurrection

It’s good to read ALL of your Bible. Each part of the Bible works together to teach us the whole truth of God and of us. There are four Gospels written by four different witnesses. Those who call the Apostle Thomas “Doubting Thomas” have only read John’s account – you need to look at ALL of the Gospels. This is why I use something called a “Harmony of the Gospels”. You can find a Harmony online. You can find them at Lifeway, or on Amazon. But the Harmony of the Gospels compares the four witness accounts of the earthly ministry of Christ and of His Apostles.

For instance, John tells us:

John 20:18 (KJV) Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

The first person to see the Risen Savior was Mary Magdalene. She and another Mary (we’re not exactly sure who the send Mary was) went to the Tomb of Christ on the first day of the week following His death intent to finish His burial preparations. When they found the Tomb empty one Mary turned away and went back to tell the disciples. Mary Magdalene continued to look for Jesus. As she stood weeping Jesus came to her. We are told by the Witness John that Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene and told her:

John 20:17-18 (KJV) …. go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Now if you read John you’ll discover Mary didn’t believe that Jesus was risen from the grave until she saw Him and touched Him. Once He revealed Himself to her she was told to go and tell the disciples. She did exactly as Jesus told her to do. Now the Witness Mark tells us that …

Mark 16:10-11 (KJV) … And {Mary} went and told {the disciples} that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Mary Magdalene told the eleven disciples (because Judas Iscariot was now dead by suicide) and THEY BELIEVED NOT. They doubted. Why did they doubt? Was it because they were told this by a woman? I don’t know. But they doubted. Every single one of them. Now the Witness John tells us:

John 20:19-20 (KJV) Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.

Jesus came and personally presented Himself to the disciples. If you compare what John tells us to Witness Luke’s account you’ll find something interesting:

Luke 24:36-40 (KJV) And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

When Jesus appeared to the Ten Apostles (for we find out that Thomas was not there) He shows Himself in a locked room …. and they don’t believe it’s Jesus! They thought they saw a ghost! Jesus had to convince them by encouraging them to examine Him – to TOUCH Him as Mary did. Only then did they believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.

If you compare the witness of John to that of Luke you’ll see that the unbelief of the Ten is the same as that of Thomas.

Jesus With Thomas

Jesus With The Ten Disciples

John 20:27 (KJV) Then saith {Jesus} to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.

Luke 24:38-40 (KJV) {Jesus} said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

So why do we call Thomas “Doubting Thomas”? His unbelief was not one bit different than that of his brothers.

Not one bit different.

Jesus never called Thomas “Doubting Thomas”,
though He did one time call Peter “Satan”.

We read this in Matthew 16:21 (KJV) … that {Jesus} must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

At this point Peter begins to argue with Jesus, saying “this thing shall NOT be unto You, Lord”. The Bible says that Jesus …

Matthew 16:23 (KJV) … said UNTO PETER, GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

OUCH! Doubt caused the Lord to call Peter “Satan” because Satan can and does work in the doubts of God’s people. We all doubt. But we need to recognize that the Lord does not want us to doubt Him.

The Bible tells us that just before He gave His Apostles the Great Commission:

Mark 16:14 (KJV) Afterward {Jesus} appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Jesus upbraided” or chastised every one of His Apostles for unbelief. Doubt did not make Jesus fire the Apostles. He did not decommission them. But He told them you should have believed. We should always believe our Lord. But immediately after chastising them, Jesus says:

Mark 16:15 (KJV) And {Jesus} said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Jesus did not send PERFECT PEOPLE out to serve Him. He calls IMPERFECT people to share a PERFECT Gospel. We have a PERFECT Lord,
a sinless Lord.
Beloved, we all walk with a limp.

Lessons We Learn From Thomas

Let’s go back to our focal text and see what we can learn from the Apostle Thomas. No, I’m not going to call him “Doubting Thomas”. He is just like us. ALL of us.

John 20:24 (KJV) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

1 The first thing we learn about Thomas is that he has a history. He is Thomas, called Didymus. When the Bible tells you something you need to pay attention. The name “Thomas” is the Greek Θωμᾶς Thōmâs, (pronounced tho-mas’) which the Strong’s Lexicon tells us “of Chaldean origin”. The name itself means “Twin”. To reinforce this the Bible says “also called Didymus” which is the Greek Δίδυμος Dídymos, (pronounced did’-oo-mos). The King James translators did not translate this word, but transposed it into English. The Greek word means “Two fold or Twain”. Some of the commentators suggest that Thomas had a twin brother or sister, and to distinguish him they called Thomas by a nickname. Thomas’ nickname was NOT “Doubting” but “Didymus” or “Twain”. God gave us a picture of Thomas because all of us have a history. We are all “Twain” in one way.

There was a time when we were LOST.
But now we are FOUND.
That old LOST part is our history.
But every now and then that old LOST part peaks out.

I have told you before that my greatest enemy is ME. I wrestle with ME every day. You know what? You do, too. We all wrestle with ourselves. Every Christian remembers his or her old life BEFORE we met Jesus. We are all works in progress. We have old scars that were inflicted on us when we were without Christ. Every now and then those old scars exhibit themselves.

We are so imperfect.

But don’t let that drag you down, Beloved. Only Jesus is PERFECT. The Bible tells us of Jesus:

1 Peter 2:21-22 (KJV) … Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

Jesus never sinned. Jesus never had doubts. Jesus never let the Father down. He was born of a Virgin, the Eternal Son of God. We were born of Earthly Parents, sinners just like us. Our fore-parents failed, and by their failure brought sin into the world. We sin. We all sin. The Apostle Paul sinned. What did he say while in the Spirit?

Romans 7:23-24 (KJV)  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  [24]  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I can’t tell you how many times I have felt this way. I love my God and my Jesus so very much. But I fail so very often. I remember a few years ago when I served another Church. I was on the road heading toward Jackson Hospital when I received a call from a certain member of the Church. This member had disrupted services several times. She was manic depressive, disruptive, and drove her husband – and me – crazy. She calls me and begins to tell me her “woe is me” story one more time. I’m on the highway trying to pay attention to traffic when someone whips in front of me, and I slam on my brakes and skid off the road. Without thinking a “word” comes out of my mouth from my past. It is not God’s Name, but it’s a “word” I don’t think Christians should use, and I try not to use it. But I am “Didymus”. I am “twain”. I have a military history, and this “word” which I will not say NOW I said THEN.

And this woman who NUMEROUS times interrupted the sermon, who disrupted the children’s Church, and who kept the Church in turmoil got self righteous on me. She began to berate me, dragging me down. I drowned in shame. What I should have told her is what Jesus told Peter:

Get thee behind me, Satan!

We all – every Christian – is a “twain” or a “Didymus”. We have an old life, an old sin nature, and the Holy Spirit Who indwells us. We have the Blood of Jesus Christ covering our sins. When we struggle and fail – when the old “Didymus” pops up, we need to take it to Jesus. That’s what Paul did when he struggled. He said:

Romans 7:25 (KJV)  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

We recognize our sin and confess it. We remember the Word and the Promise:

1 John 1:9 (KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When I fail – when my “Didymus” causes me to stumble, I confess my sin not to YOU but to JESUS.
Then I trust that His Blood is sufficient!

John 20:24 (KJV) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

2 Notice next that Thomas “was not with THEM when Jesus came”. Where was he? I don’t know. He might have been watching an old episode of Matlock or The Andy Griffith Show. It might have been an exceptionally pretty Sunday, so he headed out to the golf course or the old fishing hole. Oh, I know. He had relatives visiting so Thomas thought he’d stay home that day and tell them all about Jesus while watching the big game on television.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. But I hope I’ve made my point. I hear so much nonsense today where people say “I don’t have to go to Church to live for Jesus” or “The Church is not a building, but a people”. Here’s another one I hear. “Don’t GO to Church, BE the Church”. Many of these cute sayings have an element of truth in them. The reality, however, is that Christianity was not designed by Jesus to be a single person thing. The “Church” is a BODY OF BELIEVERS who gather together and help one another in love. Let me put it another way. 1 and 2 Corinthians is not written to that guy on 308 Evergreen Street. The letter to the Ephesians is not written to Rufus who lives on 111 Santa Fe Pike.

Every single letter written in the New Testament was written to THE CHURCH. It was written to a BODY OF BELIEVERS who gathered together and practiced loving God and loving another the way Jesus said to do.

Jesus said Matthew 18:20 (KJV)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Jesus comes to THEM, and reveals Himself in THEM.

Thomas was not with his brothers when Jesus appeared to them. When they told him that Jesus had come he doubted. But notice Jesus did not go to Thomas alone and correct him, but came to Thomas when he was with his fellow Christians.

John 20:26-27 (KJV) And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas…

I am not telling you to come to OUR Church – though I’m proud of our Church. I’m not telling you to go only to a certain “denomination” of Church. But I am telling you that you need to find a group of believers who will covenant together with you to love God with all they have, and love one another the way that Jesus loves us. The Lord Jesus never mandated the size of His local Church. Some are big, many are small. But a Church is NEVER one person.

1 Corinthians 12:14 (KJV)  For the body is not one member, but many.

2 When Thomas was with his brethren in Christ our Lord appeared to him and alleviated his doubt. We read:

John 20:27-28 (KJV) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.

Thomas made one of the greatest declarations of faith when he saw Jesus. Seeing Jesus he said:

My Lord and My God

Who is Jesus? He is our LORD. Who is Jesus? He is our God. He is magnificent! Thomas saw Jesus for Who He really is. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is our Savior and our Lord. Jesus told Thomas:

John 20:29 (KJV) … Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Jesus said that what Thomas experienced was “belief”. What does it mean to “believe” in Jesus? It means to confess Him as both Lord and God. He is the King of me, and the King of the Christian Church. He is our High Priest:

Hebrews 4:14-15 (KJV) … we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God … {Who} was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

He is the Victor over sin:

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (KJV) … we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For {The Father} hath made {Jesus} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

And we are to encourage one another to follow Him and do ALL He says. Here is where victory is. Victory is in Jesus! May God touch your hearts!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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