Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

16. From Doubt to Devotion – Part 3

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John 20:19-29
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” 26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” 28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. 29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
As soon as Jesus responds to this doubt disciple with an invitation to touch His wounds we see Thomas:

 
4. Recognition Vs 28
Christ’s invitation to Thomas to touch and test was never taken up, there was no need. Thomas not only recognized Jesus but he responded with the words, “My Lord and my God.” All it took was an authentic moment with the Master for him to go from doubt to devotion. We are all individuals and while our circumstances may differ we all need to make this journey from confusion to conviction so that we can confess our conviction. What about you, are you living under the conviction of the cross or the cloud of confusion? Are you convinced that Christ rose from the dead and conquered sin and death or are still dogged by doubt? Thomas didn’t just believe He boldly proclaimed his belief. There are many of us who call ourselves Christians but instead of confessing our conviction we are living as secrete saints. While we claim Christ as our king our lifestyle doesn’t reflect our love for the Lord. But for Thomas his skepticism was replaced with submission and surrender. When Thomas said My Lord and my God, he was declaring that the Messiah was his Master not doubt. What voice are you going to listen to, the voice of doubt and fears or the voice of your Father. Thomas was saying I’m not just convinced I’m committed. One of the reasons many of us live limited lives is because we are living for self and not the Savior. When it comes to Christ many of us are living lives like doubting Thomas not devoted Thomas, we are not really convinced so Christ remains a convenience instead of a commitment. But if He really rose from the grave then He is God and our response will be to submit to His supremacy. If there is one thing that Thomas teaches us it’s that when it comes to Christ there is no halfway house, you are either going to live a life of doubt or one of devotion. The other disciples had already had their encounter with Jesus, but they couldn’t believe for Thomas; he had to make that decision for himself. Each of us have to hear the words of Jesus for ourselves, “stop doubting and believe!” How do we know Thomas believed, because there was a change, not in his circumstances but in his life. Today many of us want Christ to change our circumstances, but He didn’t come to change our circumstances, He came to change us. As a result, Thomas went from worry to worship. Instead of asking Jesus to change your circumstances why not ask Him to change you. Instead of trying to use prayer to fix your problems start using it to focus on Jesus presence. When you do instead of being junk focused you will be Jesus focused? Prayer moves us from being focused on the problems to being focused on His presence, and when we are focused on His presence it puts our problems into perspective. It’s here in the midst of the recognition that we have the:

 
5. Reminder of Jesus – Vs 29
As He speaks this startling statement “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” Jesus was preparing his disciples and us to follow by faith because soon he would ascend and return to heaven. His ascension would put Him beyond physical sight, yet he would still be visible to the eyes of faith. Today we can’t see Him, we can’t touch Him. His resurrection appearances are no longer in human form, but they are just as real to those who seek after him and hear His words and works as they study the scriptures. For Thomas seeing was believing, but for future Christians believing is seeing! The story of Thomas is a moving example of how God dealings with a heart drowning in doubt. His words to doubting disciples today are the same as they were to Thomas two thousand years ago, “reach out … stop doubting, and believe.” What about you, are you a doubting disciple or a devoted disciple?

 

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