Jump Start # 2935
John 20:26 “After eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’”
I love that little expression in our verse today, “and Thomas with them.” We know all about Thomas. It’s hard to say his name with adding the tag and label, “Doubting.” Doubting Thomas. He would not believe unless he himself saw the Lord and the evidence of His resurrection. But what is remarkable about Thomas is that here, eight days later, he is found among the disciples. What Thomas did shows us a remarkable lesson that we need to tuck away for ourselves.
First, there are times when doubts arise. The Psalmist wondered why God would not hear His prayer. The silence from God made him question. The suffering of Job brought questions to his mind. When the wicked were looked at in their prosperity and ease of life, it was so troublesome to the Psalmist that he nearly slipped. Those long, dark days in the valley can make one wonder.
Second, Thomas was feeding his faith and not his doubts. That is a major lesson and that often determines the success or the failure of one spiritually. Where was Thomas for the past eight days? Not in a bar drowning his sorrows. He was not on websites that debunked Jesus as a fraud and a myth. He was with the believers. He was with Peter who had been in that empty tomb. He was with John who had seen the grave linens in that empty tomb. He was with the Mary who the angel had spoken to. What Thomas was doing was driving out his doubts and finding answers to his questions. Much too often, when a person has questions, they will turn to those who create questions, feed doubts and chip away at faith. Where you turn to when you have questions is the key to finding the right answers. Thomas was with the disciples. Had he been with the critics, once again he would have missed seeing Jesus.
This is why our fellowship and our assembling is so important. We need encouragement. We need answers. We need to be around those who believe. It is when we are not assembling that we begin to wonder if that is necessary or not. It is when we have spent too much time with those who don’t believe that we start believing what they are saying. Get where the disciples are. You need to be with disciples.
Third, what do you suppose Thomas was doing while he was with the disciples? The text doesn’t tell us, but you tell me. What do you think you would have done? Do you think Thomas was sitting alone in a corner? Do you think he and Peter were talking about the game last weekend? Do you think he was eating and telling jokes? I wouldn’t have done any of those things. I’d been Peter’s shadow. I wouldn’t have left his side. I’d be asking so many questions. I’d run to John and ask him questions. Then Mary. Then the two on the road to Emmaus. How can you be sure? What was it like? What did you see? Thousands of questions. I would have bugged them to death. I’d think by the time Jesus showed Himself, Thomas already believed. He knew. Too many witnesses. Too many people saying the same thing. People he trusted. People he knew. People that he believed in.
Fourth, the doubts of Thomas went away. As Jesus appeared, it is Thomas who declares, “My Lord and My God.” He knows. He is certain. He is confident. No more questions. No more doubts. No more fears. What Thomas did was feed his faith. He put himself around those he trusted. He found a place with the disciples.
It seems that these days, people do just the opposite. A guy has some questions and is not sure about things. Next thing you know, he’s dropped out of worshipping with God’s people. He’s not diving into the Bible, he’s reading blogs about the errors of his faith. He’s talking to guys at work who don’t believe. And, in a short time, he declares that he no longer believes. That’s not surprising. Look what he’s been doing. He’s fed his doubts and starved his faith. He let his faith die. He gave up on God and followed the critics. He put more trust in those he doesn’t even know than in the people he has worshipped with for years. This is how a faith crashes. It’s not the questions that kill the faith, it’s what one does with those questions. Are you among the disciples or are you hanging with the critics? Are you feeding your faith or are you feeding your doubts?