April 24 Sermon Resource


Main Text: John 20:19-31

Accompanying Text: Psalm 145:13-21


“They say the one thing that Thomas missed. They fixate on the one thing that is temporary.  And in doing so they exclude him from themselves.  ‘We have seen the Lord!’ they say. Thanks.  John the author has signposted the likelihood of this happening because he describes the disciples as being ‘overjoyed when they saw the Lord’. They are not overjoyed because they understand the enormity of what’s happening. Because they don’t.

…Thomas is not one to take this lying down. They have seen something that he has missed out on.  So naturally, being a man, he raises the stakes on them.  ‘Right then,’ he says, ‘if you have seen the Lord, I want to see him and touch him.’ This isn’t doubt. Doubt is the honest inability to conclude something for certain because of insufficient evidence. Thomas isn’t doubting what they have said or even what they have experienced. He is demanding that Jesus give him the same experience and a bit more. He takes a strong stand…

…Thomas gets a bad press and a reputation he probably doesn’t deserve, but I doubt that he cares. Jesus the disciple-making pastor takes us back round this again to make sure that everybody, us included, gets the point.

We wait a week.

…Jesus calls Thomas to faith: ‘Do not be unbelieving, but believing’ (20:27, NASB).

Give up your deliberate and conscious refusal to believe. Give up your demand that somehow everything goes back to the way it was before. This is an impossible demand. Be believing, not because you have seen something with your eyes, but because you have got hold of the truth with your hands and your heart. Not being able to see Jesus does not mean that the resurrection is not true….

And Thomas does. Believe.” [1]

Thoughts re application today

One could say that Thomas represents the spirit of our modern age in that he demands evidence before accepting what the other disciples had told him already. A difference, however, is that, although he is hesitant, he appears willing to be convinced. Had Thomas witnessed the crucifixion from a safe distance, or had he just heard of what happened, maybe from John? The thought of the nails being pierced into Christ’s hands and the spear being thrust into Christ’s side seems indelibly etched on his mind. Did Thomas respond to the invitation to touch the scars of Jesus’ wounds? The Scripture doesn’t say specifically. What is clear is that his hesitancy moves to the certainty of faith and to his confession, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 ESV). He recognises and accepts the lordship and divinity of Jesus.

“Everybody doubts from time to time. And it is right that we have questions, some of which will never be answered on this side of heaven. When we live a life of love and faith there is no need to bury those doubts and questions or pretend they don’t exist. Jesus’ disciples certainly didn’t.  

Even at the Last Supper, as they took their final meal with Jesus and listened to Him give them their instructions. Before He was killed, the disciples were scratching their heads. Thomas had no idea that Jesus was really going back to heaven (John 14:5-6) and Philip didn’t appear to understand Jesus’ purpose (vv. 8-10).

After all that time they’d spent with Him, and after all they’d seen Him do and teach, the disciples were still clueless. But Jesus was patient and kind with them – just as He is with all of us who at times get confused, become lost and stumble away.  

After Jesus’ resurrection, he said to Thomas: ‘put your finder here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.’ John 20:27

This is the journey, and doubts and questions are all part of life. But through them all, keep your eyes and your heart on Christ. Seek answers and ask those you respect for help.

But also know that you are neither alone nor the first to feel these doubts. Jesus understands.  He consoles and strengthens. He whispers truth to our hearts through the Bible, through His Holy Spirit and through others.

As my grandfather used to say, there is always music in the garden, but sometimes our hearts have to be very still to hear it. And each time we return with courage and faith to His presence, we grow in character, strength and wisdom. This is the journey of faith”. [2]

“One noteworthy feature of the risen Jesus is that the scars and wounds of his crucifixion remained visible even after the resurrection. Doubting Thomas even got to touch them…

…These wounds not only provide visible proof of the victory of Jesus but also point to how we might experience that victory today. The scars tell the story of God’s love in action. Because the One who was mortally wounded is now alive and whole he can heal our brokenness and restore our fractured world.

…As the lives of Zacchaeus, Mary, Peter and Thomas all testify, Jesus takes what’s broken and puts it back together again in such a way that it becomes more. Beautiful and valuable than before. So let’s not hide our brokenness from him. Instead, let’s hand the pieces to the risen Christ and see what he can do.” [3]


Some other Scripture Resources

  • Hebrews 11:1-2
  • Matthew 28:17
  • Luke 24:38
  • Jude 22

Other GCI resources

Footnotes and references

  1. Ian Galloway, Called to be Friends: Unlocking the Heart of John’s Gospel published by Hodder & Stroughton, UK, 2021:313-315.
  2. Bear Grylls, Soul Fuel: a Daily Devotional, published by Hodder & Stoughton, UK in 2019:155-156.
  3. Andrew Ollerton, The Bible: A Story that makes Sense of Life, Hodder & Stoughton, UK, 2020, 2021:219-220.
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