Maturing in Faith

MEMORY SELECTION: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” —John 20:29

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 11:16; 14:1-7; 20:24-29

THERE was unprecedented excitement surrounding the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the news of the great event spread rapidly among the members of the Early Church. The Master first made his appearance to Mary, and it was through her that the hearts and minds of the others were thus prepared.

One of the disciples could not accept what had happened. And because of this circumstance, the name Thomas has become synonymous with the thought of doubting. Indeed, the expression “a doubting Thomas” is commonly used by many people today.

Thomas was unable to believe the stories that were circulating among the Lord’s people. He had little faith in the message he had heard respecting the angels and the Lord’s manifestation to Mary. Perhaps he thought that the others were laboring under some sort of delusion in the midst of all the excitement. Because of his feelings, Thomas neglected to meet with the others to consider their newly begotten hopes. Having witnessed the crucifixion and the wound in the side of Jesus, he was unable to accept the thought that the Master was not still dead. Jesus, however, had revealed himself to other members of the Early Church in a room that had the doors shut. Thomas was not present at that meeting.—John 20:19-24

Even when the apostles later met with him and told him how Jesus had appeared unto them and had showed them his hands and side, he still disbelieved their story. He told the others that to satisfy his disbelief he would have to see and feel the print of the nails and to thrust his hand into the spear hole in the Lord’s side. If he were given that opportunity to experience such undeniable evidence, then would he believe—but not otherwise.—vs. 25

Our Lord, as a resurrected spiritual being, could come and go as the wind. He chose, however, to wait a week before again appearing to any of his people. Thomas remained skeptical but evidently had his interest in the matter aroused, because he wanted to be present at the next meeting with the other disciples. The Master, of course, had the matter under complete control for the best possible lesson to be learned by all.

As on the previous occasion, Jesus came into the midst of the gathering—the doors being shut—and said, “Peace be unto you.” He turned his immediate attention to Thomas, thus indicating his perception of the disciple’s doubts and fears. He quickly invited Thomas to come forward to see firsthand the very evidences that he required. “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”—vs. 27

Thomas had been overcautious not to be deceived by the stories he had heard about the resurrection of the Master. His faith was rather shallow in connection with the matter, for he had been given powerful proof of what had happened by the most reliable of his brethren. Indeed, he should hardly have doubted the combined evidence of the Lord’s selected followers. Yet, our Lord manifested great patience in dealing with Thomas’s fleshly weaknesses and gave him ample opportunity to see and believe for himself.

As an indication of his heart condition and good intentions, “Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (vs. 28) The Master, however, desired to teach an important lesson concerning faith. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (vs. 29) We note that Jesus did not reprove Thomas in any way because of his need to have indisputable proof for what he believed. But he did emphasize the importance of faith as a necessary characteristic to be developed among his footstep followers.

The lesson for all the Lord’s people is that they would do well to cultivate this spiritual sensibility. We have not seen our Lord at any time, yet we see him and are taught by him through the eyes of our faith. We have not heard his voice except with the ear of faith. How precious are the rewards of faith!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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