ALL-CHURCH FOCUS 2018 DEVOTIONAL

September 28th, Day #41 - John 20:24-31

start here

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. – John 20:30-31


Jesus did more signs than we see in John’s Gospel. 


What signs of His work in your life can you recognize? 


How has it stirred your faith and strengthened your trust in Jesus who is living today?

game on

Read John 20:24-31


It is easy to identify with, and even be like, Thomas, often referred to as “Doubting Thomas” (v. 25) and to believe only in something that can be seen and touched. It is difficult when it is something abstract or from a second-hand source. The disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus but he had to see him for himself. When he did, he believed. Easy! I love the confirmation and challenge Jesus gives: “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me” (v. 29).


It was easy for me to doubt rather than believe and trust that God was calling me to retire from the working world to serve Him in Honduras. I would ask myself if I could I leave what was known and comfortable? Could I learn Spanish? Would my needs be met? It was a back and forth struggle. Finally, believing, I stepped out in faith. I’m so glad I did. God has been with me, showing me His love and care in big things and small things. I continue to learn and re-learn that doubting saps my energy and joy, while believing gives me life and purpose!


your move

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 20:24-31.

 

Scripture: Write down what you find most interesting in today’s passage. What about it makes you curious? 


Observation: What is John’s purpose in recording what Jesus did in this gospel, according to verses 30-31?

 

Application: How do Jesus’ words “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” affect you? It’s a blessing for those that put their trust in Jesus today, some 2,000 years later! How can this blessing/promise change your outlook on whatever the day brings?


Prayer: Tell Jesus what it means for you to believe in Him today.

bonus round

The disciple named Thomas has been saddled with a label that has stuck for centuries; to many he has gone down in history as the doubter: He has been called a skeptic, a rationalist, an empiricist-the one who needed incontrovertible proof before he would be satisfied.  He's been seen as the prototype for all who dismiss the reality of Jesus Christ on the basis of rational arguments.  Many people have been taught that Thomas was the one disciple who lived as close as you can get to disbelief.  It's time we see him in a different light, more as a prototype of all of us who are, at one time or another, plagued by doubts.


This Thomas is the same man who, when Jesus told his disciples that He was ready to go back to Judea to raise Lazarus, said to his friends, 'Let us also go, that we may die with him' (John 1 1 :16).  Now that's quite something, isn't it?  This man was committed and courageous. He was ready to go to the cross for Jesus.  Thomas was the kind of guy who, when he gave himself to someone, gave with all his heart.  He had sold himself out to the Lord-lock, stock and barrel.


The problem with Thomas was that he became disillusioned after Jesus' death.  When a person who has invested so much into a relationship sees that the relationship didn't meet up to expectation, that it ended on a sour note, the pendulum often swings the other way.  In the end Thomas wanted to draw back to a safe distance, thinking thoughts that may have gone something like this: I’m not going to get burned again.  Next time it's going to take the Rock of Gibraltar, someone I can count on to be there for me for all my life, before I give of myself so completely: That was Thomas.  He had believed once upon a time. He was convinced that Jesus was the answer to his heart's deepest longings, the fulfillment of all his dreams.

 

But then the absolute worst thing that could have happened did happen.  He saw Jesus go to the cross.  He saw Jesus buried.  He saw the tomb and the massive rock rolled up against it. And all of his dreams died with Jesus.  So when he heard the incredible, the thoroughly unbelievable, word of the other disciples that Jesus was alive and had appeared to them, Thomas needed proof before he could recommit his life.

 

I think if it had happened any other way, Jesus would have been far more severe with Thomas.  But He understood Thomas's doubts.  He recognized Thomas's fears.  He helps people like Thomas, and thank God for that, because there are a lot of us around.  After giving Thomas eight days to scratch his head over this issue, Jesus appeared to the disciples once again and said, first of all, “peace” (John 20:26).  No rebuke, no censure, no attack on Thomas's character. Simply a gentle word of peace.  A calming word of acceptance.

 

And then, looking into Thomas's eyes he said, in rapid succession, “put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”  Oh, I'm so impressed with the way Jesus handled this doubter!  He met his need.  He showed Thomas just what Thomas had required in order to have the strength to go on living for God all his days on earth.


Don't tell me you haven't had doubts like Thomas's.  Wondering if maybe your belief In the Lord Jesus isn't just some great exercise in futility.  Facing struggles that make it seem as if God is more absent in your life than present.  Dealing with disappointments that have led you to question the validity of your relationship with God.  And in those doubting moments when the lights have gone out and the pit is so deep and there’s nobody around and tomorrow seems bleak, you and I also are very tempted to say, 'He'll have to prove it to me next time before I could ever trust Him again.'

And He does. He does! He comes in with grace and compassion, and He shows you His hands and He shows you His side.  And He says, here, my child, here's proof. I am alive, and I live forever! And I will never leave you or forsake you!


*This resource an excerpt from The Living Insights Study Bible by Charles R. Swindoll (Zondervan, 1996), page 1144.