John 20:24-31: My Lord and My God!
December 23, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The story of “doubting” Thomas is at once a strange one, and at the same time an encouraging one. It is encouraging because for many people they find themselves at one point or another in their lives in the shoes of Thomas. It is encouraging to read of someone who approached faith with what appears to be a rather skeptical attitude, and yet came to believe.
On the other hand, though, Thomas is accorded the kind of firsthand eyewitness experience which we today do not have. And what is more, while Thomas believes, the story continues with an instruction from Jesus that it is “blessed” to believe without seeing. Indeed, as John gives his summary statement for the whole book in verses 30 and 31, this book is written that we may believe—even without first hand eyewitness experience, because the book records the witness of those firsthand eyewitnesses who did see Jesus’ signs, and in particular his resurrection from the dead.
What then are we to learn from Thomas? First of all, it is not wrong to ask necessary questions. Christianity, unlike many false religions, does not ask us to believe without also giving us evidence. False religions tend to argue that it is “unspiritual” to want facts and data. They tell us to “just believe,” and emphasize the subjective and the emotional. But Christianity presents the truth openly: we examine it to see whether it is true, and we believe it based on the truth. Do not then be afraid of asking necessary questions.
Second, it tells us that even the most hardened skeptic was persuaded by the evidence of the resurrection. If they had all believed without any resistance, we might understandably have wondered whether they were predisposed to believe. But Thomas will not believe, refuses to believe, unless he is presented with sufficient evidence. We can be confident then that if the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection was enough to convince Thomas, it should be enough to convince anyone.
Third, we conclude that we should joyfully treasure the Bible, and in particular John’s Gospel. Jesus says it is more blessed to believe without seeing. But how we can do that? The answer is by hearing. John has written his Gospel so that we might believe in the name of Jesus, and by believing find life in him. Would you then this morning thank God for the Bible, develop new habits of reading and studying the Bible, and on the basis of what is recorded in John’s Gospel about the resurrection of Jesus from the experience of eyewitnesses, joyfully and confidently believe. And, like Thomas, cry out to Jesus “My Lord and my God!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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