Countdown to Liftoff – Day 35

“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” John 20:28-29

After all his pretentious bluster about needing proof,
it seems Thomas didn’t need to put his finger in the nail holes
or his hand in Jesus’ side after all.

Jesus Himself was enough.

Instead of poking around in Jesus’ scars,
Thomas dropped to his knees in worship.

He didn’t miss out on any more visits after that.
Thomas was there at the ascension
and at the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost.

Tradition tells us that Thomas went on to be a missionary in India
where he established a church,
but was executed for his faith.
It is said he was stabbed in the side with a spear.

He never lived down his “doubting” label, which is unfortunate
since all the other disciples also doubted the women’s reports of having seen the risen Jesus.
There’s no doubt that Thomas was a strong believer
and God used him in mighty ways.

We have something those first disciples didn’t have.
A special blessing is given to those of us
who believe Jesus rose from the grave,
even though we’ve never laid eyes on Him.

For Thomas, seeing was believing.
For us, believing is seeing.

Open the eyes of our heart, Lord.

Countdown to Liftoff – Day 36

“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!’ 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.'” John 20:26-27

It was the 8th day after the resurrection, and the disciples were still holed up, hiding out behind locked doors. There must have been a lot of fear to keep 11 men inside a house for a week. (Can you imagine how it smelled in there?) Maybe they actually were in danger — the chief priests had paid off the soldiers to report that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body from the tomb (Matt. 28:13).

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) isn’t just a 21st century phenomenon. Thomas must have had a bad case of it, because he was with the other disciples this time around.

Jesus poofed in again, and He was looking for one in particular. He addressed the very statement Thomas made a week earlier: “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.” Jesus offered proof followed by a command.

Stop it.
Stop doubting.
Start believing.

At some point, we need to quit messing around with looking for loopholes and testing for evidence. So let’s stop it. Let’s stop critiquing God’s Word and digging for error and raising our arrogant eyebrows with our defiant arms crossed. Let’s start putting some faith in something other than our own self-sufficiency.

Instead of doubting our beliefs and believing our doubts,
let’s start doubting our doubts and believing our beliefs.

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Countdown to Liftoff – Day 37

“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. When the other disciples told him that they had seen the Lord, he declared, ‘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.'” John 20:24

It’s too bad Thomas missed out on Jesus’ appearance to the other disciples.
Where was he, anyway?
Was he emotionally spent?
Did he need some alone time?
Was he out picking up lunch for the other ten?
Checking up on his twin brother?

Imagine the disappointment, to learn the resurrected, glorified Jesus had stopped in and you missed it. We don’t know what took Thomas away, but we do know he came back. He was a hard nut to crack, though — eye-witness reports from ten of his closest friends wasn’t enough for him. “Doubting” Thomas was really more like “Defiant Skeptical Unbelieving” Thomas.

Because he stayed away
from his community of believers and fellowship with them,
he missed an encounter with the Risen Lord,
which fed his doubt
and made him demanding,
setting his own conditions
for belief.
Sound familiar?