2109 04 28 Lorna Laister AFTER THE RESURRECTION
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After the Resurrection!

Lorna Laister; 28 April 2019

Scripture reading John 20:19-31

Read John 20:19-31

This week’s sermon focuses on Thomas, the first disciple to recognize Jesus as Lord and God. Thomas doubted. What can his story tell us about DOUBT? And how can we deal with it?

Try and imagine what the disciples were going through, after the crucifixion. There Rabbi, their master had died. And they were hiding for fear of the authorities.

Let’s pick up the story in the book of John.

The doors are locked.

The disciples are meeting together.

And suddenly he is there.

“Peace be with you.” “Peace be with you” echoes into all levels of being. Peace be in that room, despite this strange being who has just appeared, and peace be between God and humanity forever. From the conversation with the snake in the garden to the battles in the final days of humanity, the phrase echoes out: Peace be with you.

Read John 20:20-23

They were there because of fear, and when they saw his wounds, they were glad.

And he breathed on them. Here John is putting the whole story together again. Just as the Lord breathed life into Adam so many ages before, so here he is again. Here he is breathing life again, and with his breath he is bringing back to life the part of us that had died in the garden. The part of us that died when Adam and Eve first ate of that fruit can now be made alive again.

Then he said to forgive others—let others experience what they were experiencing. We should not think that it’s up to us to forgive—only God can forgive, and he did it at the cross. We can say, if you don’t forgive them, they cannot experience what it is to be forgiven. We represent the One who forgives; we cannot represent him if we don’t also forgive.

Let’s now focus on Thomas. 2 verses where we meet Thomas

John 11:16; John 14:5

The interesting thing about Thomas is he has only a few lines in scripture before his famous scene here at the locked room.

  • John 11:16—”Let us go too, that we may die with him.” This is Thomas most likely talking about dying with Jesus in Jerusalem. Jesus is returning to raise Lazarus, but he’s walking into a death trap because the authorities there are trying to kill him. Thus, the first time we see Thomas, he is actually faithful Thomas, not doubting Thomas—he’s talking about dying with Jesus—he’s that committed.
  • John 14:5—”Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” This is interesting. While at first glance it comes across as a reasonable question, it sounds a bit like Thomas’ faith is wavering a bit. What was first an emotional, confident promise that he would follow Jesus to death, now has an edge of cynicism to it. Wait—are we being misled? Wait—look,

Read John 20:24-29

Thomas was not with them.

Notice Thomas didn’t just say, “I have my doubts;” he said unless I see, I will never believe.” That wording indicates there was pain with his doubts. We don’t know why Thomas wasn’t gathered with the other disciples, but his doubtful response leads us to wonder if he was privately dealing with his pain.

Here is Jesus, making an extra trip—an extra appearance—to meet with this broken person. That is the Lord we serve. Put your finger here, put your hand here.

WHEN JESUS SHOWS UP, HE MEETS US WHERE WE ARE

A week later the disciples are together again in the same house….And the first person Jesus addresses in the room is Thomas…“Touch the scars Thomas…stop doubting and believe.” I don’t get a real sense there’s a reprimand…It’s just that Jesus knows what Thomas needs to believe…the result…

Thomas knew that you didn’t get off a Roman Cross alive. He knew that you don’t put a live human being in a tomb and seal it off with a large rock. He knew that you don’t buy 75 pounds worth of embalming spices to put around a body unless that body was good and dead.

Jesus was not there to ridicule Thomas. Jesus was not there to scold him, belittle him or make him look small. Jesus was there because Thomas needed him. Thomas loved Jesus and Jesus loved Thomas. Thomas had poured his life into Jesus and into Jesus’ ministry and vision. And now, Jesus was pouring back His life into Thomas. Jesus saw that Thomas needed a little more help. Jesus saw that Thomas needed some more assuring.

The amazing part of this statement is that Jesus will still meet each of us where we are through His Holy Spirit and give us just what we need to believe!

And Thomas responds by naming Jesus: My Lord, and My God.

Thomas was an apostle who led with his heart. Like many, he was emotional, up-and-down, unpredictable. He was the one who was bold enough to voice his doubts even when everyone else was on board. This doubter was the first to recognize Jesus as Lord and God. He was the apostle who later travelled further than any of the other 12 to spread the gospel. We believe he went to India

As much as he was doubtful, he ended up being doggedly loyal. As cold as his doubts were, his faith ran just as hot. All because his Lord lavished grace upon grace for him, just as he does for us.

We all doubt from time to time; we all deal with emotions and pain and worry and fear. There are times when we feel like Thomas the doubter, and there are other times we stand like Thomas and declare Jesus as “My Lord and my God.” So what do we do when doubts arise?

On this doubter’s Sunday, what do we take home with us?

  • Doubting is OK. Thomas doubted and it was OK; it was who he was. Just like Thomas, God made you unique. He made you in the unique and weird and wonderful way you are. He has a plan for you, just as he did for Thomas the doubter, Peter the hothead and Paul the overachiever.
  • When you doubt, think things through. One of the holiest things you can do is knock your head up hard against the questions of faith—ask, ask forevermore! And be ready for an answer that’s may just be more creative, interesting, and amazing than you ever imagined. Remember that often we doubt when we are lonely; tired or hungry. Or we doubt because we have been hurt
  • Engage community. We will park here for a little while because this is a very important point. On the video the minister mentioned doubt turning to cynicism. The question we are left with is when does the doubt (BLEACH) turn to cynicism (THE BLEACH IS TOO STRONG)
  1. One sign is that a person ISOLATES HIM/HERSELF. They separate and go away alone
  2. The second sign is that the person starts saying “I’m right”

iii. The remedy is to talk. To voice worries. Share the worries.

We wonder why people suddenly leave. But they don’t. Things were happening for a long time and the signs went unnoticed. In community we can help each other. Point out the signs

  • Doubt your doubt—Doubt often occurs when we believe we are alone—forgetting that Jesus—our Lord and our God—is always with us. It’s amazing how many doubts arise when God asks us to do something difficult or to deal with a difficult person. At times like these…
  • Ask God to give you the boldness to do whatever it is he asks you to do. Remember who is with you—and watch your doubt slip away.

 



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