Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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15 – Thomas – The Twin Within – Part 1

John 20:18-31

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 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.” 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.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Today as we look at this disciple who is famously remembered as the doubter we are confronted with our own hearts and where we are really at with the Lord. The name in Aramaic means twin, as does his second name Didymus which in Greek means twin. His two names, Thomas and Didymus,are actually one and the same. Thomas comes from the Aramaic and means “the twin” while Didymus is from the Greek and means “the twin.” It is likely that Thomas was born as a twin but there is also an interesting connection between his name and his nature that we will look at today. While twins may look the same they often act very differently. Like Thomas each of us has a twin nature and today we are going to be looking first at:

  1. Confronting your twin

Thomas is a personality that many us can identify with at some point in our Christian journey. Thomas gets a bad rap because we tend to remember him as Doubting Thomas, (John 20:25) or Questioning Thomas (John 14:5) but why not Devoted Thomas the one who was willing to go and die with Jesus. Why don’t we talk about that? What do you mean you might ask, when was he Devoted Thomas? In John 11:8-16 when Thomas heard that Jesus was determined to go to Bethany, he was determined and dedicated to follow even if it meant death, John 11:16 “Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”There was a time when Thomas was willing to die rather than forsake his Savior and it was His devotion that encouraged the other disciples to go along with Jesus to Bethany. Yet, “THOMAS Twin has been labeled “a pessimist.” It’s easy to focus on the mistakes and failures in others? Yet inside every one of us is a twin who may look the same but they act very differently. While one is Devoted the other Doubts. Thomas gets the bad “rap” being called “doubting Thomas” but how about the rest of the disciples they had all been doubting? The truth is we are all doubting Thomas, doubting Mary, doubting Peter or John. In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20, we clearly see both twins because while they obeyed and went to the mountain and worshiped which is Devotion it also says that some Doubted. The Christian life is a journey not a destination and doubting is a part of every believer’s Christian Experience. We will all at some point in our life have a “THOMAS Twin” experience where at times you demonstrate your dedication and devotion to CHRIST while at other times you demonstrate Doubt. On the outward surface you’re the same person, the same name, same affiliations and the same address. But, inwardly you are different and if people knew what was really going on inside you they would probably assume that you were a “twin”.  For some of you if your thoughts could be heard you are DOUBTING that GOD can do it. You are having trouble accepting God at His Word. This twin life of Doubt causes us to live life:

  1. Closed Off

The disciples were afraid and despite Mary’s “breaking news” of having seen the risen Christ, they were still hiding behind locked door. But I want you to notice that doing life locked up doesn’t keep the fear out. When Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross, His followers fell apart. They scattered to the winds. They were devastated. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. They had given up everything to follow him. For three years they had watched, been taught, mentored, challenged and corrected so they could follow Him no matter what. Yet when Jesus was arrested all of His followers ran away. They fled like cowards. Some of them even denied they knew Him. In the days after Jesus’ death, they were discouraged, defeated, disillusioned, demoralized and depressed. The daring disciples were gone, they had hit rock bottom and were running on empty. I wonder how many of us when we are driving never let the gas tank get below half empty? How many fill up when we get three-quarters empty? You never let it go beyond a quarter left. How many see how far you can go after the little light goes on? How many of you think “E” means “Enough to keep going”? How many of you have ever in your lifetime run out of gas? The truth is that no matter where you are, ¾ full, ½ , ¼ or the ‘e’ light is on, you need to fill up. We make the mistake of thinking that because we are half full we are fine. But that means half of our tank is not filled up with fuel and so there is room for something else. So often we let our tanks run down and when we do we leave room for doubt and fear to fill the void. That’s when we like the disciples turn to man-made mechanisms, the locks that don’t actually make us safe they just limit our lives. As parents we can live in fear of the world and try to lock it out. Some of us are emotionally locked up, closed off, but retreating doesn’t remove or resolve the fear. So where was Thomas when Jesus first came? He was not with the other disciples. What we see is that they were not just closed off from life but also from each other. Where are you at today are you living in the locks and the limits because of a double life that involves doubt or are your eyes firmly focused on Jesus?