From those who do not believe to those who believe Thomas

The power of words

 Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20: 19-29).

The disciples closed the doors and hid, fearing that they would also be captured. Then Jesus, who had risen from the dead, came and said, “Peace be with you” (verse 19). Jesus showed his disciples a nailed hand and a spear-stabbed flank as he hung on the cross. The disciples were very pleased to see Jesus (verse 20). Peace was given to the anxious disciples, and joy was given to those who were overwhelmed by sadness.

The resurrection of Jesus was the resurrection of the physical body, but the physical body was a glorious body, it was not obstructed by the physical space. So he was able to get in through a room with a closed door. However, it is by no means like a ghost, nor has it become a body completely unrelated to humanity. Certainly there were scars on Jesus’ body. He had a body that they could touch.

To the fearful and anxious disciples, Jesus once again said, “Peace be with you” (verse 21). These days are also an uneasy time. We are grateful that the coronavirus has calmed down a little, but I think everyone is worried about when the next wave will come. But today, Jesus, who has risen from the dead and is still alive, says to each of us, “Peace be with you.”

But when Jesus appeared to his disciples, Thomas was not there. No matter how many other disciples told him, “We saw the Lord,” Thomas never believed (verse 25). It’s a pity that everyone is happy, but only Thomas isn’t happy with him. Thomas would have known that his companions weren’t lying. Thomas also has a desire to believe. But he can’t believe it. How much conflict did he have? Our figure overlaps here. I’m sure there are times when we want to believe, but we can’t. We can’t be convinced unless we actually see it.

We don’t know the reason for Thomas’ absence, but perhaps because of the sadness of losing Jesus, he wanted to be alone and left the fellowship of the church. It is regrettable that Jesus will come, God will reveal himself, the Holy Spirit will be poured, and revival will occur when we are absent. Even if we can experience it later, I think it’s best to be there from the beginning.

Eight days later Jesus came again. This time Thomas was there too (verse 26). Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” Probably because they were still afraid and anxious.

And Jesus said to Thomas. “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (Verse 27). Jesus is the one who handles each person. Thomas would have suffered from unbelief and loneliness that he alone couldn’t believe. Jesus showed him his scars and healed the trauma of Thomas. You have been healed because of the wreckage of Christ (1 Peter 3:24).

However, Thomas did not actually put his finger beside Jesus. But sadly, in many paintings, Thomas is supposed to put his finger in the scar of Jesus.

Perhaps the most famous is the work of Caravaggio (1601).

Thomas didn’t actually put his finger in the scar of Jesus. The Bible does not say so. Instead, Thomas said to Jesus: ” My Lord, My God ” (verse 28) This is a wonderful confession of faith.

This confession consists of two parts. The first is “My Lord.” He confesses that Jesus Christ is his Lord and his Savior. The second is “My God.” He confesses that Jesus Christ is his God. This is also our confession of faith. “Jesus Christ is my Savior. Jesus Christ is my God.”

The conviction of faith was in those who were in fellowship. When Thomas was alone, he suffered from doubt and unbelief. When we move away from the fellowship of the church, we often move away from Jesus himself. Thomas was able to meet Jesus when he returned to his companions. 

Jesus said to Thomas. “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (verse 29)

At the same time as being told by Thomas, this word also refers to those who will hear and believe in the gospel through the ministry of the apostles. In the first century, those who heard the sermon of the apostle John, those who gathered in the church where John was a minister. John himself saw Jesus directly, but the congregation did not. It also envisions people reading the Gospel of John in the modern 21st century and listening to sermons from the Gospel of John. That is us. We didn’t actually see Jesus, but we could believe it. This is God’s grace, blessing and gift.

Although not written in the Bible, according to traditions passed down through the Church Fathers, the apostle Thomas said from Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  It is said that he went to India, preached the gospel, pioneered the church, formed the church, trained his disciples, and finally was stabbed by a spear and martyred. It seems that there is a Thomas Church in South India (a suburb of Madras).

Imagine that when Thomas preached, those who heard the gospel said to him, “Show us Jesus Christ you are speaking, and I believe.” What did Thomas answer? I think that he answered, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing it.”

In order for our faith to grow, we still need to believe without seeing it. Seeing and believing is not faith in the strict sense of the word. What we see is not the object of faith. It is the subject of recognition. After all, the last thing to say is faith that we believe without seeing. Bible (Hebrews 11: 1) says, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Faith convinces the invisible. This faith allows us to complete our Christian and church life to the end. Believing without seeing is genuine faith. Paul said. ” Sure, we are walking by faith, not by what we see ” (II Corinthians 5: 7).

Faith begins with listening. Through listening to and reading the Words of the Bible, our faith is raised and strengthened. Unbelief is removed. Through the Word of God, the fulfillment of faith is given.

Jesus is speaking to us. “Stop doubting and believe.” But what if we can’t believe? We can pray. ” Please help me unbelieving ” (Mark 9:24)  

The prayer can be answered. Suspicious Thomas could not believe in Jesus’ resurrection at first, but later he could. Now, maybe there are areas that we cannot believe, but Jesus’ love and mercy, kindness and consideration will allow us to believe like Thomas. And we can confess. “My Lord, my God.”

Let us walk as believers, not as disbelievers!

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Posted by: canaan

I used to be a pastor in the metropolitan area for 10 years, but now I am a pastor at a local Christian church. I also run a travel agency and a farm. I myself have been empowered by various words, and I would like to convey hopeful words. 

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埼玉県で10年間&北海道で10年間牧師の働きをしました。現在は神奈川県の教会で協力牧師をしています。私自身が様々なことば(特に聖書のことば)で力づけられてきたので、希望に満ちたことばをお伝えしたいと願っています。I used to be a pastor in Saitama prefecture for 10 years and Hokkaido for 10 years. Now I am a cooperating pastor in Kanagawa prefecture. I myself have been empowered by various words(especially Bible ), so I would like to tell the hopeful words. 


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