Tuesday, June 17, 2014

John 20:24-31

John 20:24-31
And Thomas, one out of the Twelve who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  Therefore the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I should see in His hands the mark of the nails and I should put my finger into the mark of the nails and I should put my hand into His side, I will surely not believe.”  And after eight days His disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came – the doors having been shut up – and stood into their midst and said, “Peace to you all.”  Then He says to Thomas, “Place your finger here and see my hands.  And place your hand and put it into my side.  And do not become disbelieving but rather believing.”  Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”  And Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are the ones who did not see and who did believe.”  Therefore on one hand Jesus also did many other signs in the presence of His disciples.  These are not having been written in this book.  But on the other hand these have been written in order that you all should believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and in order that while believing you all should have life in His name.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Thomas’ bravado is amazing here.  Remember, this is a man who was hand trained by Jesus.  Here is a man who was among the Twelve, walking by Jesus’ own side and listening to the teachings coming out of Jesus’ own mouth.  Thomas had spent up to three years with Jesus, learning at His feet.  Yet, here in Thomas we see such bravado.  “Unless I should do these things, I will surely not believe.”  Now, I do have to give Thomas some understanding.  He’s just seen his disciple-maker get arrested and crucified.  He’s also just heard that Jesus appeared to everyone in the group but him.  It’s easy for Thomas to put up this bravado as a defense mechanism.  But it can teach us something about humanity.  When we are wounded or left out of a group experience, we can easily get defensive.  We can easily say things we don’t mean.  We can easily check our brains at the door and react on instinct.  That’s not good at all.

When are you most likely to react on instinct rather than saying what you really mean?  How do you get around those times when your knee-jerk reaction might not be what you really should be doing or saying?

Second Thought:

Now I have to give Thomas credit.  While he may react poorly, he doesn’t dig in his heels to validate his reaction.  When Jesus comes among Thomas, Jesus gives Thomas exactly what he needs.  Jesus allows Thomas to see and touch his wounds to know for certain that it is Jesus.  Jesus also does this to indicate to Thomas that even though He wasn’t present for Thomas’ statement that He still knew exactly what was needed.  Jesus also chastises Thomas for allowing himself to become disbelieving.  Thomas takes all of that in stride and humbles himself to His Lord.  Thomas submits to Christ.  He may have acted in bravado, but he ends in submission.

When has Jesus changed your bravado to submission?  What can you learn through that process?  What does this tell us about Jesus’ forgiving nature?

Third Thought:

We have this additional footnote at the end of this chapter.  There are two neat thoughts that come out of this.  First, John is confessing that He didn’t write everything down.  There are other things Jesus did that John doesn’t record.  We don’t have to know the whole story, we just have to know enough to understand and believe.  We don’t need to be experts on Jesus’ whole life, we just need to know what He did and why that proves He’s the Son of God sent to bring salvation to mankind.  Second, we hear a serious claim to faith.  John tells us most assuredly that “while believing” we “should have life in His name.”  Life comes only through Christ; life comes only while believing.  That’s a serious claim to faith.  There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ.

How does it make you feel to know that nobody expects you to be a master of knowing everything that Jesus ever did?  Is that freeing in any way?  What does it mean to you to realize that there is no way to the Father except through the Son?  What does that really mean?

Passage for Tomorrow: John 21:1-14
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