Here is the introduction to the next sermon from John 20:24-31.
(Jn. 20:24-21:1) 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
There are different levels of what we might call doubt. Thomas has been given the nickname, Doubting Thomas. But he doesn’t just have doubts, he does not believe.
I have personally gone through seasons of doubt on the level of unbelief. Particularly while in seminary, the undoing of life as I knew it was very hard. I believed things based on what someone else told me (which is how things ought to work). When you don’t know what the Bible says yourself then you lean on the traditions handed to you from your church family. The problem was, some of those things did not line up with Scripture while some did. But even more important, there were a lot of things missing too.
Breaking loose from held tradition is painful. Sometimes I was angry with those who didn’t teach me all that the Bible said. At other times, I wasn’t sure I could trust the Bible or more accurately, trust God. I had trusted what others had passed on to me about God and the Bible MORE than I trusted God himself in his word.
The Lord placed some people in my life that were nothing short of merciful gifts. They prayed. They corrected. They encouraged. They stayed. They continued to point me to the Bible as the place to find the truth. And their faith in God and his word spoke volumes to me.
This text invites us in on the process this disciple went through. It was painful for Thomas, and I would imagine many would read this and never think of the hurt he went through. I, for one, am glad he went through this because I see how it ended. Mine ended the same way. That season of doubt caused me to find the source of truth and there I found Jesus. The real Jesus. The whole Jesus. The risen Jesus. My King.