Phil Cox

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Just call him "Thomas"

22nd March 2006

Or call him "the twin" - that was his nickname (John 20:24).

But don't call him "Doubting Thomas". After all, how would you like it? We've been calling him "Doubting Thomas" for 2000 years. How if the church of Christ called you "lazy Dave" or "selfish Janet" or "unreliable Andy"? How if we kept it up for 2000 years?

Anyway, I'm not at all sure he deserved to be singled out as "doubting".

He's been called that because of John 20:24-25

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 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 it."

What actually happened was this: On the day that Jesus rose from the dead, Mary and the other women saw Him, and came to tell the other 10 disciples that Jesus was alive (Judas was out of the picture by now). But they didn't believe her (Luke 24:9-11). Later, Jesus visited the 10 and showed them His hands and side (John 20:20). When Thomas arrived, they told him that they'd met Jesus - and now believed that Jesus had risen from the dead (well - you would, having seen His resurrection body first hand). Thomas then said (effectively) "Well, boys, I'll believe what you believe when I've seen what you've seen". Jesus then returned a week later and gave Thomas the same experience that He had already given the other 10. Thomas then believed.

So, really, Thomas wasn't much more doubting than the other 10.

But what I would really like to point out today is this:

No-one believes in Jesus unless they've had an experience of Him

No-one can come to faith in Jesus Christ without help from God. We just don't have the wisdom inside us to understand His gospel, or the faith inside ourselves to believe in Him.

First, God has to shine a light inside us so that we can begin to understand in our inner being that Jesus really is God, that He really did die for our sin and He really did rise from the dead.

And God has to give us faith to believe that this means that if we will turn from our sinful attitudes and trust in Him, we can be forgiven and can inhert His eternal life.

In His eternal grace and mercy, He does just this.

Galatians 1:15-16
God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me

2 Corinthians 4:6
God, who said "Let light shine out of darkness", made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ

Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

If you can see something of Christ that someone else can't - that's because God has revealed it to you, so don't criticise your neighbour or look down on him - pray for his inner being to be enlightned just as yours has.

And if you need God to show you who Jesus is, or what His death and resurrection mean for you, then pray - ask God to reveal it to you. It worked for the 10, and it worked for Thomas, and it worked for me!