Acknowledged as Lord

KEY VERSE: “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” —John 20:31


IN OUR last lesson, it was mentioned that when Jesus, after his resurrection, first appeared to the disciples in the closed room, one of their number was missing. That one was Thomas. The Scriptures tell us very little about this beloved apostle, but the few brief quotations given are enough to reveal him as a man very devoted to his Master. Earlier when Jesus was planning to return to the vicinity of Jerusalem because Lazarus had died, Thomas, realizing that his Master was going there at great peril to his life, said to the other disciples, “Let us also go that we may die with him.”

Later, when the Lord told his followers that he was going away, they were perplexed, and Thomas, indicating a great desire to follow, said, “Lord we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”

But perhaps most of all, Thomas is remembered as a doubter. The familiar passage of our selected scripture tells us why this is so, revealing the doubting characteristic of this dear disciple. At the same time, however, it shows indirectly his personal love for Jesus, for it indicates that at the time of the crucifixion he was so close to the scene and watching so intently what was happening to his Lord, that he could see the wounds in his hands and in his side. He still carried the vision of these in his memory, refusing to believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead unless he could literally see them again.

Jesus did not hesitate to accommodate him, whereupon Thomas, being convinced, exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.” This language again suggests the strong personal attachment this disciple had for his Lord, and now that he was assured his beloved Master actually was alive from the dead, he could not hold back his feelings.

Verse thirty clearly explains that Jesus gave this and many other signs to demonstrate and establish the fact that he had been raised from the dead, and to make it clear that he was no longer a man. If he had been restored to life as a human being, it would mean that he had not actually taken the sinner’s place, and the ransom had not been provided. But this did not hinder him from giving this “special sign,” the one which Thomas had said would convince him that his Master had been raised from the dead. Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”

There is no doubt that in this incident the Lord has given us a very helpful and meaningful lesson. If none of the disciples had doubted the Lord’s resurrection, these convincing proofs might not have taken place. Without them, in the centuries following, it would have been much more difficult for those of a skeptical turn of mind like Thomas, to accept these stories as true without investigation. But here we have evidence of investigation.

Jesus implied, however, that faith must also be exercised beyond the point of that which can be appreciated through seeing, hearing, and feeling. “Saith he to Thomas, … Be not faithless, but believing.” It is our faith in his Word that enables us to accept what Jesus did for Thomas and the disciples as proofs for us also. In God’s arrangement, faith has been made the very foundation of any relationship with him.

The Apostle Paul, in his inspiring treatise on faith, in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, shows how God had recorded profound acts of faith performed in past ages as examples to us, and how they stir our desire to have a similar staunchness. He likens them to a cheering audience at a race, where we, as contestants, are spurred on to victory by their inspiring support. (Heb. 12:1) But, he says, the ultimate example was our Master himself. He is the author of our faith. He brought to us an understanding of God that furnishes a firm foundation for a faith which enables us to live our lives unto God. In his life he laid out a path marked with his footprints which, if followed, will finish our faith in victory as he was victorious.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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