Jesus’ Post-Resurrection Words with Thomas

In 2022 - The Power of His Resurrection, Lectureship by David Stearsman

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We are dealer referenced tonight, but I do have a take me to your leader reference later on. So perhaps that fits back when I was in college, which is over half of my life ago, I was working at a bookstore and I was shelving a section called large print books. And from time to time, I would open these books up and kind of chuckled to myself and just be like,

man, these words are enormous, massive here. Well, you know, half of my, over half of my life ago, well, about a month ago I was leading singing. I had the song book open and I was like, what is this small print business? And this song book. And I was like, you know what? I could get this thing like right here.

And if I didn’t look like such a buffoon doing it, I’d probably do it. But, you know, naturally I made the connection, which is big songbook has an agenda with their small print where they’re trying to get us not to sing. Right. Isn’t that right? Well maybe, maybe, maybe not. Well, it’s kind of obvious, right?

I do have a problem. I have a sight problem, so I need to correct that. And so I’ve given in my wife, she’s been very kind and says, Hey, why don’t we, why don’t we go? And we can go to my doctor really like them, but don’t think that I haven’t tried to maneuver around that, you know,

make excuses and be like, you know what I can squint or, you know, I can do that there or go into reader view or, you know, what are big phones, still a thing. Now I think I need one like that big, right? Maybe, you know, sometimes we skirt around the obvious that’s in front of us. And even though we have vision,

and even though we have insight, we still go around what we can see. There’s been a few titles for my subject tonight when I’m supposed to talk about, I think at first it was Jesus with Thomas and then it was Jesus’s post-resurrection words with Thomas, but any of these titles talking about Jesus’ words are good because the words have a meaning. And even though there aren’t that many words in what Jesus says to Thomas,

they have a meaning. And I think maybe an alternate title for what we’re going to be looking at tonight is do you see the world through the Lord’s eyes? Do you apply his vision? Because that’s what mainly this is about, is the lack of applying the Lord’s vision. And the text was this passage where we consider doubting Thomas as he’s called, but there are passages before this to think about with regard to Thomas,

the apostle he’s known as the twin or Didymus as he’s sometimes called throughout John. This doubting Thomas name is interesting when I was looking at this and thinking about this, it’s really based on this one encounter, because if you think about it, all of the apostles were doubting apostles on that resurrection night and mark chapter 16, verse 14, it says that they were all rebuked by the Lord for their unbelief and their hardness of heart.

And I was thinking about this and thinking about the apostles were rebuked for that on resurrection, NY. I thought about how humbling that is when we just think about it and think about that. Those were apostles. And then, you know, to apply that name, doubting Thomas, I was listening to Hiram today in his sermon and thinking, you know,

I could be rebuked for my unbelief and hardness of heart. That’s a struggle that I’ve had in my life. Plenty. There’s some key moments that help us understand Thomas and some of the things about him. First of all, I know someone else has this topic, but it’s just about Thomas that I want to go into here is that the death of Lazarus in John chapter 11 verse 14 through 16 first,

they don’t understand that Jesus is what Jesus is saying. When he says that Lazarus is asleep. And so he speaks very plainly to them and John 11, 14 and says to them, Lazarus is dead. And then he says, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there. That you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to him.

Then Thomas, who was called the twin said it was fellow disciples. Let us also go that we may die with him. Notice that in my new king James translation, that him has capitalized. They’re thinking this P this journey to Judy is going to end in the death of Jesus. And we’re all going to die with him. And so Thomas here,

it’s not really doubting Thomas, is he certain Thomas about this? At least he’s certain that he’s going to go and die. He was willing to die, but here’s Jesus giving him the purpose that this was a faith building exercise we’re going so that we may believe that you may believe. And so his fear was unnecessary, but he was worried and the apostles were worried back in verse eight of the same chapter,

they were worried. The Jews who saw to stone him would be successful in doing that. Then later in John chapter 14, the night before Jesus, his crucifixion, Jesus says to them and where I go, you know, John 14, four, and the way, you know, very plainly Jesus is saying this, you know, the way what’s important here,

the words that Jesus has spoken, he has told them he has spoken those things to them. But then Thomas responds saying, Lord, we do not know where you are going and how can we know the way? And so Jesus says to them, I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me. But Thomas was not alone here.

Phillip follows by asking to be shown the father. But Jesus tells him if you skip down to verse 10, that the father has been evident this entire time in Jesus. He says, do you not believe that I am in the father and the father in me, the words that I speak to you, I do not speak on my own authority, but the father who dwells in me does the word.

All of this is pre crucifixion. And so these words, they have value. Think of these words, think of these things. And the father is in him, believe me, that I am in the father and the father in me or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. Here is this emphasized. The words are enough to make you believe.

And if you don’t believe in them for that, I have been performing all of these signs, but Thomas and Philip were both doubters. And for that matter, the apostles were too. So leading up to what we see on resurrection night, we can determine a few things about Thomas. He was zealous. He was a willing apostle, but he had doubts.

And this world and the events that were transpiring around him made him somewhat fatalistic. And he thought that the end was near. So we don’t read about Thomas again until the Lord’s resurrection. And you think about resurrection night, resurrection night should have been a victory parade if you really think about it, but really wasn’t treated like that by those men that were the closest to the lore.

Now here’s this first account of the disciples in John chapter 20 verses 19 through 23. And these disciples have a meeting without Thomas present. And it says that the doors there notice that the doors in verse 19 were shut doors, being plural. You have double doors. Do we have multiple locks? You know, the way that we secure something, these men wanted this place,

where they were meeting to be secure. And as I pointed out in the book, some commentators have said that this shut meant that they were not just shut, but locked reinforced. And the reason that these were reinforced was due to Jewish persecution, they were still worried about that. Would that be our fate as well? And so here is Jesus. He stands in their midst and greets them.

How did he do this? Don’t have the details, but he does it. And he says to them, peace, be with you. This was a common Jewish salutation. And he utters this Jewish salutation three times throughout this passage. And I kind of was thinking about this in contrast with Peter who denied him three times, and that there’s this reinforcement on behalf of Peter when he denies Jesus and that,

you know, he’s, he makes it stronger every time if you study that, you know, to where he’s calling down cursings and yet Jesus is here saying peace, be with you to reinforce that he has peace to offer them. And, you know, I grew up when watching a science fiction, being very interested in that in the eighties, that was one of the things it was around.

And back at that time, there wasn’t a lot of science fiction guests until alien came along. But before that, there was like war of the worlds and stuff like that. And that was like really the only science fiction, HG Wells, where the aliens were, you know, coming down and destroying everything. But then most of it was like, what,

what would you want someone who was an alien? How would you want them to introduce themselves to you? And it was always, you know, peace, take me to your leader. I come in peace, right? And I’ve often thought, you know, is that just a manifestation of what you know, people’s desires are? And here’s the Lord coming from beyond,

you know, the passage was read earlier in Psalm chapter 16, verse 10, you know what will not leave my soul and she’ll. And so his soul would not see corruption here is Jesus coming back after three days and he’s extending this peace. And so is this, you know, the people longing for this, this manifestation, which is actually right here usually is I think,

but Jesus, the king of the Jews saying peace with you would have some significance, right? Especially when that epithet had been mockingly ascribed to him on the cross. And some of his own here did not want to be seen with him. And here he is standing before them. And here he is definitely the king of the Jews because he’s come back from the dead and he’s standing before them now.

And he has that Hanser for Jewish persecution, right? If the grave couldn’t handle him, then they have nothing to fear. There’s peace that they can be secure. And so he reiterated this piece with you three times. And I think Jesus is saying this because you know, sometimes we think about Jesus and we say, well, Jesus is willing to meet you halfway.

I don’t think that’s true. I think Jesus is willing to meet you all the way, but you have to be willing to meet him all the way to. And he’s saying, this is because I’m open. I’m here. I’m the Jesus’ resurrection resurrected. That was the door, the door for the sheep. I’m here, I’m back. And so here he is in verse 20,

showing them his hands and his side, which were nailed in Pierce physical evidence that he was not just an Abba apparition. Think about docetism. This was something that was a belief where Jesus was just an apparatus, apparition, a manifestation here. He’s saying no. And th and they are seeing this. And it says, when they see it, they were glad when they saw the lore.

But, you know, he shows him this evidence. He had given him his word while he was living. He gave that to them. And in Luke chapter 24, verses five through seven Luke records that when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and other women were met by two men at Jesus’s tomb and found it empty. And his body absent,

they were asked, why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee saying, the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful and be crucified. And the third day rise again. And so here, even though this was happening, right then at that time,

these two men are saying him, speaking that to you was enough. Remember that if he said it, it was true. He meant it. And so that has transpired, but Jesus had also prophesied this. And he prophesied this very meeting here in this room with his disciples in John 16, 22, he says, therefore, you now have sorrow, but I will see you again.

And your heart will rejoice. And your joy, no one will take from you. And so it says that when they saw that evidence, that physical evidence, they did indeed rejoice. Yet these words at one point seemed like idol tales. When the women delivered them in Luke 24, 10 and 11, I think what Jesus is showing here again, is this information,

this evidence, as a faith building exercise, he’s showing that I told you I was the son of God. Now I am going to affirm to you that I am deity. And so his omnipresence is shown and that he was there among them. The fact that he was omniscient, he was absent from the tomb, but he was aware of their conversation.

He joins right into that conversation and talks to them as if he had been there. And then his omnipotent, his power to subvert nature came in through those shut, locked doors. And of course, to rise from the dead. They’re all on display there to show those apostles. And so next, he tells us apostles, as the father has sent me,

I also send you in verse 21. And then he breezed the holy spirit upon them, verse 22, to signify that they are to continue to declare his message as he promised he would before his crucifixion back in John chapter 16, verses 13 through 17. So now we get to that point with the exchange with Thomas in verses 24 through 29. Although Thomas wasn’t at that first meeting between Jesus and the POS and the apostles,

their testimony should have been enough. They stayed to him in verse 20. We have seen the Lord. Now you might remember back in Matthew chapter 18 verse 16, that Jesus taught that it was credible to establish that when you go and your brother has sinned against you, he does not hear you. You bring two or three witnesses to establish credible testimony.

This was taken from a mosaic law reallocation up. So here is this thing that they know of. And this old Testament principle that’s reapplied in the new Testament, but all of these men who say this to Thomas, that we have seen the Lord, you know, these weren’t just any buddy that could be interviewed. These were 10 apostles who are giving this testimony.

And so, you know, when these things are doubted, it’s not just doubting the testimony of Jesus and the testimony that he shows to them, but it’s also doubting the testimony of apostles. It’s doubting the testimony of all of these women. And so you think about this doubting that Thomas had this really doubting one of the most credible testimonies that were available.

And so instead, what Thomas does here is he sets his own conditions. He says, unless I see in his hands, the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And so eight days later, as we see this habit of their Sunday meetings happening, the disciples were gathered again with Thomas,

with the door shut. And Jesus stands before them again in verse 26 and says peace to you. And again, Jesus demonstrates his omniscience. He’s saying here to Thomas not present, but then now he is present. Jesus says, reach your finger here and look at my hands and reach your hand here and put it into my side. Now, at that point,

you would think Thomas would be like, wait, how did you know that? That’s what I had just said. Now you’ve appeared. How do you know that? But Jesus has given him a chance and he says, do not be unbelieving, but believing another commentary that I quoted in the book said that maybe a more accurate translation of this would be,

do not be unfaithful, but faithful. And here’s that same rebuke that the other apostles received by Jesus in mark chapter 16, verse 14, but unbelief. And really what Jesus is saying here is that you’ve had enough testimony all along, but because I want to reach out to you because I want to build your faith. I’m going to give you the opportunity to do what you’ve asked and be a believing and to Thomas’ credit.

When he does that, he makes a strong confession of Jesus, where he says my Lord and my God McGarvey points out that here we have the first confession of Christ as God and Jesus response, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed Jesus in effect is saying that your witness, what you’ve seen is not the strongest testimony,

your eyes, Thomas. Although I have allowed, this are not the strongest testimony, because the ones who have not seen and have believed, have enough evidence to do so, you know, our eyesight can be off and my witness might be all. But as we look at these scriptures and as others will point out, this is a trail of witnesses.

We’re not just talking about Thomas. We’re talking about several women. We’re talking about several, several apostles were talking about what Paul says is 500 people at once saw Jesus. And so as this chapter concludes in the context you see where John writes in verse 30 and truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing you may have life and his name. And so the testimony, and again, notice not everything that is contained about Jesus. Not every single action is in this book, but what is written is sufficient for anyone to believe. You don’t need to have Jesus in front of you.

Like Thomas did to be a believer. And so making an application, you know, you think about Thomas demanding to examine the Lord. But really when you look at it, Thomas is the one that is under review here. Isn’t he, the fault of Thomas was not that he demanded to use his sight. Think the Lord is or booking him for that.

It was that he ignored what he had already seen and did not apply the Lord’s vision. The words of Jesus and the promises that are contained therein were enough. And the apostles today, the apostles didn’t have enough faith because they weren’t believers of the word that Jesus spoke. And so the words of Jesus are enough for us today. And when people seek a sign or they seek a miracle,

or they say, you know, if Jesus would just give me that one thing, that one moment, that one vision of him, it’s not because they are blind, but because they aren’t looking in the right place or they refuse to look in the right place and we can be willing and zealous individuals. But our doubts in this life can cripple us from applying the Lord’s vision.

Now, the Lord’s vision thinking about this 2020, when somebody says that now, what do you think of the year? Lockdowns began 2020 used to mean, you know, perfect vision. And there’s nobody that has more perfect vision than the Lord. You know, he was there and over saw the creation of the entire universe, but sometimes we don’t rely on his vision.

And Thomas was getting caught up in world events and things that were happening in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is saying, you know, I’m, I’m doing this so that you’ll believe, but he’s still believing that he’s going to die. And sometimes that happens with us and we get stressed out over world events and we know what the word says, you know? And so I know the most high rules in the kingdom of men,

Daniel four 17, but this is the most important of our elections of our lifetime. You know, again, this is the most important election. I know the earth and its works will ultimately be destroyed by fire. Second, Peter three 10 says that, but what about Putin and Russia better hope he doesn’t have his hand on the nuke and you better hope GGN paying and China doesn’t have his hand on the nuke and you better hope that any country with a nuke,

even if they’re the size of Florida, doesn’t have their finger on the trigger. And what about the most pressing issue of our time climate change? You know, gotta do something about that. And I know that one of the main purposes of not forsaking the assembly on Sunday so that we stir up love and good works Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24, but I’ve been doomed scrolling my phone.

And my most trusted news network told me that the CDC says that there’s a new variant. And so we’re going to need to bunker down again. And you know what? I kind of liked that because, you know, it’s just more convenient and I have to be there. You know, we can set up conditions of our own too. And most often you think about the fact that that’s what salvation and not meeting the Lord on his terms.

But, you know, I don’t want to make my life, my timeline or my area where I start thinking that the most trusted news network is anything other than the good news. And so faithful, Christians can also set up conditions of our own. Sometimes we get disappointed. Sometimes we get down and we say, you know, I don’t have this talent.

I wish I could do this. I’m not a preacher. I’m not a teacher. Maybe you don’t have the, maybe you don’t think you have the town, or maybe you don’t have the authority to do something, but then you think, well, then I don’t have any talent, but then we don’t look at the areas. And by the way,

Ephesians four 11 through 16, that vision there is for equipping the entire church for building up the entire church. And so you definitely have a role to play, but sometimes we just say, you know, that’s not my area. And sometimes that’s convenient. Somebody just told me recently, you know, I visited this congregation and you know, they were saying that,

you know, if we hire a preacher at this congregation, then he’s the one that’s getting paid. So he needs to be doing everything well, that’s setting up your own conditions. What if instead we said, I’ll find my strong suit and apply it to the Lord because it’s his vision. What if we said, I can give more or I can reach out to the lost more,

or I could engage with my neighbor more, or I could encourage brethren who have complimentary talents to mine more. I could encourage sisters and recognize their contribution, or I could reach out to widows orphans and prisoners, or I could just study the Bible and try to help my own family because that’s what Noah did. All these areas. Let’s not lose sight of the Lord.

It’s the Lord’s vision. May the prince of peace who extends peace, rule our decisions. And may we be willing to meet with him wholeheartedly.


David Stearsman
Jesus’ Post-Resurrection Words with Thomas
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