Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning June 2nd, 2019.
The Bible is full of ordinary people that God has walked with, encouraged, and empowered through hard times and places, in order that His name be made great. These were ORDINARY people. But with God, they did extraordinary things. Their lives have been recorded for us to see, examine, and find encouraging insight for our daily lives. In this series we will look at many ordinary people who God used.
This morning I want to look at the nature of the Apostle Thomas, as much as we can, from the three times He is mentioned in John.
Was he, Thomas the DOUBTER or Thomas the DOER?
I. Thomas Willing to Risk His Life (John 11:1-16)
1. The first time that we see Thomas mentioned is found in the passage about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:1-16 NIV
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
The disciples have a good point here. They tell Jesus, hey that isn’t such a great idea.
“Let us go back to Judea.”
>Vs 11:8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
>The Disciples: “You know there are people out there who are trying to kill you.”
>Jesus insist that they still go.
Vs. 16 is key: Thomas speaks out… “Let’s go too – and die with Jesus.”
Thomas, the one who we always refer to as doubting Thomas, makes the bold statement “I am willing to follow with you, Jesus, even if it means death.”
What can we learn from this?
>First of all Thomas was not just a doubter.
>Thomas was willing to put in all on the line.
>In his mind there was a strong chance that he would be killed if he went to Judea.
Thomas was willing to risk death to follow Jesus
Do you have that same passion to follow Jesus?
Do you have that same desire to follow Jesus?
Do you have the same boldness to follow Jesus?
Thomas confronts us with this...
>He was willing to put life, his goals, his future in God’s hands and follow Jesus at all cost.
>Are we willing to obey even unto death? He did... and we should too.
II. Thomas was willing to ask the questions that we all were wondering (John 14:1-6)
John 14:1-6 NIV
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
>This is a very important moment. Jesus has just washed the Disciples to show them how to serve. Then He tells them how He is going to die. Now He is comforting them with these words…
>Let us be honest, if this was the first time you heard about all this you would be confused too.
>I can see the disciples sitting around and shaking there head and pretending they understand what Jesus was talking about.
I get that look from time and time when I am preaching, I don’t think you understand what I am saying but you smile and nod anyways.
Here we see Thomas saying to Jesus: I don’t get it. I am confused. Help me understand.
>Notice Jesus did not rebuke Thomas
>Jesus did not make fun of him for his honest question
>Jesus used a different way and expanded on some things to answer the questions that Thomas had.
>The rest of the disciples in their mind I am sure they were saying thank you Thomas for asking that question
What can we learn from this?
>You know one of the biggest misconceptions that we have been taught is questions are wrong.
>Honest questions are not sin.
>To want better understanding of a situation is not a sin.
>Sometimes we just don’t understand… life, a situation, a hard spot we are in…
Be willing to ask God the questions, be willing to examine things, figure out what exactly is going on.
III. Thomas Willing to Accept the truth (John 20:24-29)
John 20:24-29 NIV
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas gets a bad label here in John 20:24-29, but we have to understand what was going on before:
Mark 16:1-13 NIV
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. 9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
Did you catch that? None of the disciples believed Jesus was alive. But Thomas was the one that got tagged “DOUBTING.”
>When they were together Thomas was not there.
>Where was Thomas? The Bible does not say.
But when Thomas gets the news, He is like the rest. Thomas did not want to blindly accept what his fellow disciples said. He wanted to make sure that everything was correct.
So the Lord showed up, and showed him.
Thomas then makes one of the most overlooked statements in the Bible….in verse 20:28 “My Lord and my God”
a) This statement is amazing, it’s actually incredible
b) Thomas declares exactly who Jesus is - “My Lord and My God”
What can we gain from this story?
>First of all, understand that doubt is not sin. It is not sin to doubt. If it were, Jesus would have said why are you sinning against me, he did not say that.
>We all wrestle with doubt from time to time.
>Notice something here, Thomas never doubted Jesus, he doubted his fellow disciples.
>Once Jesus showed him, he believed and admitted it.
Doubt should lead us to ask sincere questions. Our own mind and the way we are wired leads us to make conclusions, summaries and search for understanding. The human psyche demands meaning.
>1 + 1 = ________ You just had to answer it, didn’t you.
>Roses are red, violets are blue, you love me and I love ______. Again you just had to answer it didn’t you…
To doubt the resurrection is not that uncommon. Dead people rarely get up and are alive again.
It is hard to make faith fit in with the painful realities of life. This occurs when: a loved one dies, we loose our job, marriage falls apart and your struggling to make sense of it. It’s hard when your kinds are chasing after things you know are harmful, it’s hard when you feel like you are barely treading water because of all the stuff, the pressure, the pain.
God wants help us in these times, and in these places. I always think of Psalm 46 in these times. It’s then that I realize that God is God, God cares for me, and God listens to me.
I hope I have made a good case to stop calling Thomas, “Doubting Thomas.”
>Thomas was no where near doubting as he was willing.
1. He was willing to risk his life and follow Jesus...
2. He was willing to Ask some really hard questions..Those questions caused him to trust so much He went to the other side of the world for Jesus. (India)
3. He was willing to accept the truth.. In the end He was so committed to the truth that he planted countless church’s (some say he planted more churches than Paul.)
I think we need to be more like Thomas.
>Be willing to follow Jesus at all cost.
>Ask God the hard questions.
>Be willing to accept the truth when confronted with it.