You saw no beaten, swollen face or torn flesh from the flogging or crown of thorns that once marred the appearance of Jesus. He had to point out his injuries to all of you. The only remaining proof of all he had been through was the evidence of the crucifixion itself. Jesus looked perfect except for these awful wounds that were not wet or bleeding but were not old scars either. They were fresh punctures showing traumatized flesh on a whole and well body.
You understand why all this information is difficult for Thomas to take in but you are a little insulted that he doubts all of your testimonies. You have
traveled and ministered together for almost 3 years. You wonder¾ Can’t he take my word for it? Why is he elevating himself to be the judicial critic and making me out to be the gullible, naïve student of the departed Rabbi?
But Thomas may be misunderstood by all of you. And you notice his
disgruntled expression gradually turning to sadness. The more everyone
relays details of how they felt in the risen Christ’s presence the more stricken he appears.
Now you begin to feel sorry for Thomas. You think to yourself: He is grieving the loss of our Rabbi and friend. And he wasn’t able to be here to see him on the most important day of all. You think, maybe Thomas is wondering, “If Jesus is alive why did he not wait until I could be here too?”
Step back to a time in the past to answer questions #1- #4. Examine closer the years of ministry and relationship Thomas had with Jesus.
1. Jesus had many followers he taught and sent out to evangelize and do miraculous deeds (Luke 10:1-22). These were known as his disciples. How did Jesus finally decide which disciples, (later to be known as the Twelve Disciples and designated as apostles), would be in his inner circle (Luke 6:12-16)?
2. (Note Thomas was also called Didymus which in Aramaic and in Greek means twin, though his sibling is unknown in scripture.) Read Thomas’s experience in the story of Lazarus. How would you describe his personality and his relationship with Jesus (John 11:1-16)?
3. Jesus tried to prepare the Twelve for his death and ultimately his return to his Heavenly Father. How does Thomas’s question show his pragmatism as well as his devotion (John 14:1-6)?
Step back to this room, with Thomas and the other disciples for the following questions.
4. (Note, the well-known title “Doubting Thomas” originated from this disciple’s skepticism regarding the resurrection of Christ.)
What does Thomas say to you and what conditions does he give God before he will believe Jesus is alive (John 20:24-25)?
5. What do you notice listening to Thomas and watching his body language? Does he seem angry, sad or just confused?
6. Why do you think Jesus waited a week before reappearing (John 20:26)?
7. How do the words of Jesus remind Thomas and you that he hears your words and knows your concerns whether you can see him or not (John 20:26-27)? How could that help you and the others in the future?
8. Who is Jesus talking about when he says, “Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed” (John 20:29)?
9. This is a three-part question.
When Jesus reappears what does Thomas call him (John 20:28)?
Do you see Thomas ever touch the hands and side of the risen Christ as he had earlier insisted, he must do?
What do you see and hear as Jesus holds out his hands to Thomas?
Describe this scene and your own reaction to seeing Jesus again.
10. Who does Jesus say is more blessed, Thomas who saw the proof of the risen body of Jesus, or those who will choose to believe without the physical proof (John 20:29? (Note the word blessed can be translated to happy.)
Tradition has it that Thomas, the disciple of Jesus, went on to eventually evangelize India and Parthia!1
11. Step out of Scripture and come back to today for this question. This
Is a three-part question.
Do you relate with Thomas and struggle with your own doubts? Which doubts are the most difficult for you to overcome?
What physical evidence or proofs have you needed, or do you need, in order to believe Jesus is alive? List them here and try not to edit yourself. (As seen in this first lesson, the Lord can handle your doubts.)
Has Jesus ever shown you that he hears your words, knows your concerns and sees you, even when you can’t see him? How do you know? (One example might be answered prayer-if so, what were some of the details of that experience?)
Lord, sometimes I feel like Thomas
The disciple who felt left behind,
Wondering where you are today,
We need to see you to ease our mind.
Why is having faith so difficult for some?
And doubting so easy to do?
Never wanting to be skeptics,
All we ever wanted was you.
Thomas was loyal, dedicated,
With concerns and a stubborn pride.
You gave him a week to ask himself,
“Do I need to touch his hands and side?”
Maybe as Thomas and I, in the waiting,
Give up demands of proof or a show,
We’ll withdraw our hand, fully understand,
What our hearts already know.