John 20:24-31

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 15, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Today after 2nd service – Hotdog lunch to support the next Mexico Mission Trip.  Here’s a taste of what happened back in March.  Play “Mexico Outreach” clip.

Invitation to Israel.  I have found that we have two more months left for you to decide to join us in Israel.  But you will need your passport – so start the applications…

We have made it past the death of Jesus Christ.

Early on Sunday morning, Mary, Peter, and John all found the tomb empty. 

Jesus appeared first to Mary. Mary returns and tells the disciples that Jesus had appeared to her:

Luke tells us that later on in the day Jesus appeared to two other disciples…

Last week we saw that Jesus appeared to the rest of the disciples at the end of the day.

20:24-29 Doubting Thomas

:24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

:24 ThomasThomas – an Aramaic name meaning “a twin”

:24 twinDidumos – “two fold” (this is a Greek word)

John is letting us know that Thomas’ name meant something.  It meant “twin”.

Who is Thomas?

He was a twin (played for Minnesota???)
That’s what his name means.  We don’t know who his twin was.
He was brave
When Jesus had already been threatened by the Jewish leaders, and yet He still spoke of going up towards Jerusalem to minister to Lazarus’ family (and eventually raise Lazarus from the dead) …

(Jn 11:16 NKJV) Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

He was outspoken
At the Last Supper when Jesus talked about going away to prepare a place for them, it was Thomas who spoke up and asked the question the rest of the disciples were wondering …

(Jn 14:5 NKJV) Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

It was in response to Thomas’ question that …

(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.

There is a book called “The Acts of Thomas”, recording an account of Thomas traveling to India preaching the gospel and performing many miracles.
Tradition tells us that Thomas preached in India, and put to death with a spear by a powerful official after the official’s wife became a believer.

There is another book called “The Gospel of Thomas”, and it contains a bunch of sayings that were attributed to Jesus.  The early church rejected this book as being authentic.

:24 was not with them

The other disciples had been meeting on the Sunday evening of the resurrection.  Jesus had “stepped into” the room, even though the doors had been locked and shut.

But Thomas wasn’t in church that evening.


Don’t miss out

I really don’t want to lay a guilt trip on you about missing church.
You are all adults and you have things to do and places to be.
I have no intention of turning this church into a cult and trying to manipulate you into coming to church against your will.
But sometimes the place to be is at church.
Jesus shows up here pretty regularly.
Sometimes Jesus touches people’s hearts.
Sometimes God has something to say.
Look at some of what Thomas missed the previous week:

Play “Last Sunday Evening” clip

I hope you don’t think that I’m being boastful, but we have a pretty good thing going on here in our little church.
We’ve had some people move away who are now living in other parts of the country.  A few weeks ago George and Melanie were visiting from Texas.  George’s words to me were, “People don’t realize what a good thing we have here in our little church”.  They’re having a hard time finding anything like it in Texas.
And some of us are having a hard time just getting here.
Go To Church
A husband and his wife arose one Sunday morning and the wife dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband hadn’t moved a finger toward getting dressed. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?” He said, “Cause I don’t want to go.” She asked, “Do you have any reason?” He said, “Yes, I have three good reasons. First, the people there are cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don’t want to go.” The wife replied, wisely, “Well, honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First, the people are actually quite warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you’re the pastor! Get dressed!”
We all face those moments don’t we?  We have an enemy that would love to distract us and keep us from church.
(Heb 10:24–25 NKJV) —24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “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.”

:25 said to himlego – to say, to speak

The verb is an “imperfect” tense, which means that they had been continually saying these things to him.

It wasn’t just a one-time casual remark made by Peter, “Oh, by the way Thomas, I saw Jesus”.

They kept saying this to Thomas over and over.  Perhaps for the next week.

:25 we have seenhorao – to see with the eyes; to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience; gives prominence to the discerning mind

perfect tense

:25 I seehorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know; to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience

aorist subjunctive

:25 the printtupos – the mark of a stroke or blow, print

:25 the nailshelos – a nail

:25 putballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to put into, insert

:25 sidepleura – the side of the body

:25 I will not believe – two negatives are used here, a very strong statement.

(Wuest) I will positively not believe

We’ve seen through the Gospel of John that there were quite a lot of people who saw Jesus and the miracles up close, but still refused to believe He was the coming Messiah.

This is why His enemies went down the road of having Him be put to death.

But Jesus’ enemies weren’t the only ones who struggled with belief.


The Skeptic

We call him “Doubting Thomas”
The skeptic is the person who wants proof before they commit.
I’m not sure this is always a bad place to be.
In fact, it might even be a good thing that Thomas was not just a guy who went along with the crowd.
Thomas has been told that the other disciples saw the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side.  He decides that this is what he wants as well.
Jesus will give Thomas the proof that he is asking for.
The challenge to the skeptic is to be sure that you are being honest with yourself.
Are you using your questions as an excuse because you simply have no intention of following God and whatever that might mean?
A recent poll taken by Gallup after the White House released President Obama’s birth certificate indicates that there are still 1/3 of Americans who are skeptical or unsure that he was actually born in the United States.
There is now a controversy over whether or not the President should release any of the photos of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Some people are claiming that the United States is lying and that bin Laden isn’t dead.

This week the President authorized a few members of congress to view the pictures.  Some gave us descriptions of what they saw.

I imagine that even if the President releases a photo or two, this will not end some people’s doubts.

The problem is that some people have gone past honest skepticism with God.
They don’t believe because they won’t believe.
We have learned, like Thomas, that there are very solid reasons to believe.
This summer we will be exploring the issue of “worldview”.  Just what do you believe?  Do you believe that what you believe is really real?

Play “Truth Project” teaser trailer – coming on summer Thursdays

:26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

:26 eight days – the commentators agree that this is an expression referring to the next Sunday night.

:26 the doors being shut

The language describes the situation exactly like the previous Sunday evening

The doors are locked and Jesus once again “steps into their midst”.

:27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

:27 reachphero – to carry; to bring, bring to, bring forward; apply

:27 lookhorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know; to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience

:27 putballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to put into, insert

:27 look … hands … put … side

Jesus uses the same words that Thomas used.  He wants to satisfy Thomas’ questions.

:27 Do not be unbelieving, but believing

Jesus doesn’t use the word “to be” (eimi) but uses the word “become” (ginomai).

Literally, “Stop becoming faithless and become a believer.”

There is concern on Jesus’ part about where Thomas’ doubt is leading him.


Belief is a choice

You’re not just going to wake up one morning being a believer.
You have to make a choice.
You have to choose to believe in the Lord.
I find that often a person doesn’t believe in the Lord, not because they don’t have enough evidence, but because they simply don’t want to believe.
I will challenge you in a few minutes to make a choice.

:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

:28 My Lord and my God

This isn’t an exclamation like “Shoot, howdy!”, “Lordy!”, or “OMG!”

Thomas is declaring who Jesus is.


Jesus is God

We have seen all through this gospel the clear truth that Jesus is indeed God in human flesh.
John told us this at the beginning of the book:

(Jn 1:1 NKJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

(Jn 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the Jews questioned Jesus about who He was:

(Jn 8:58–59 NKJV) —58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

He was claiming to own the name of God, the “I AM”, the name of Yahweh.

We’ve picked up this theme several times through the Gospel of John.  It’s not so evident in our English translations as it is in the original Greek text.

They picked up stones because they thought He was claiming to be God.

A little later, Jesus again makes the claim of deity:

(Jn 10:30–33 NKJV) —30 I and My Father are one.” 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

Why is it such a big deal to believe that Jesus is God?
1.  If He claimed to be God and wasn’t, we’ve got problems.

He’s either a lunatic, or a horrible deceiver.

How would you treat a person who walks up to you on the street and claims to be God?

I’d walk away slowly.

I certainly wouldn’t pay attention to anything else they said.

On the other hand, if that person claimed to be God, then did things like heal the blind, feed thousands, walk on water, and raise the dead … I might be inclined to listen a little more closely.

C. S. Lewis, the great Christian writer and professor at Oxford and later Cambridge, wrote in his book Mere Christianity:

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic, on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool; you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or, you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.”

2.  His deity is tied to our salvation.

Jesus said,

(Jn 8:24 NKJV) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

If you don’t believe He is Yahweh, you will die in your sins.

It works this way – Jesus came for the expressed purpose of dying as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. (Jn. 1:29)

(Jn 1:29 NKJV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

To be a sacrifice for another, one has to be qualified – one has to be “spotless”.

If you are a sinner, and you claim to be a sacrifice, you are only going to die for your own sins, not someone else’s.

Jesus was sinless.

If Jesus was just an ordinary man, he would only be making a single sacrifice, only enough to cover one person.

The fact that He was God in flesh meant that He would lay down an infinite life, making an infinite sacrifice.

The fact that after dying on the cross He rose from the dead proved that He had more than an ordinary human life to lay down.

:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

:29 because you have seen Me

The implication is that Thomas never actually put his finger into Jesus’ wounds.

All Thomas actually needed was to see, and then he believed.

We might think we have certain conditions that need to be met in order to believe, but they may not all be necessary.

:29 Blessed are those

This is a blessing that’s aimed at us.  We have not seen, but we believe.

Peter wrote,

(1 Pet 1:8 NLT)  You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

It’s not that we are blind followers.  We have a different kind of proof.  Our proof is the testimony of the witnesses.

These witnesses died proclaiming that they had seen the risen Lord.
These witnesses recorded their testimony in the Bible.  We have heard, read and studied, and we have believed. Paul wrote,
(Ro 10:17 NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

20:30-31 The Purpose

:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

:30 signssemeion – a sign, mark, token

The Gospel of John is written around the “signs”, the “miracles” that Jesus did.

These “signs” are the framework on which the book has been written.

:30 in the presenceenopion – in the presence of, before

:30 which not written in this book

John does not record every miracle that Jesus ever performed.

In total, the four Gospels record Jesus performing 35 miracles.

John has only recorded 7 of Jesus’ miracles.

Scholars have concluded that the gospels only record about 50 days of Jesus’ ministry in all the combined gospels.  Yet Jesus’ total ministry of 3 ½ years comes to about 1080 days.

That means that we only have record of 4.6% percent of Jesus’ ministry.
Imagine the teaching, conversations, and ministry we’ve never heard about.

John will record later …

(Jn 21:25 NKJV) And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

:31 these are written

John has carefully selected out some of Jesus’ miracles to give you a better picture of who Jesus was.

:31 Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

John isn’t concerned that you just believe that Jesus was a real person.  He’s concerned about what you believe about Jesus.

He is God’s promised Savior.  He is the Son of God.

:31 you may have life

This is John’s desire for his reader.

He wants them to have life – eternal life.

Our salvation comes through the vehicle of “faith”, or “believing”.

God paid for our salvation by what Jesus did in dying on the cross.
We get this payment credited to our account through an act of our “faith”, our choice of faith.
Paul wrote,
(Eph 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The “grace” is what God did in sending Jesus to die for us.

Salvation comes “through” faith.  When we take the step of believing, God responds by giving us salvation … giving us “life”.


Make your choice

God used John to write to you and I an important part of His great Love Letter.  God’s desire is that you would come to know who He is and put your life in His hands.
How will you respond to God’s invitation?
When Elizabeth Barrett became the wife of Robert Browning, her parents disowned her because they disapproved of the marriage. The daughter, however, wrote almost every week, telling them that she loved them and longed for reconciliation.  After 10 years she received a huge box in the mail that contained all the notes she had sent.  Not one had been opened!  Although these “love letters” have become an invaluable part of classical English literature, it’s really pathetic to think that they were never read by Elizabeth Barrett’s parents.  Had they looked at just one, the broken relationship with their daughter might have been healed.
God has written a love letter to you.
What we’ve been studying that love letter.
How will you respond to God’s love?  It’s your choice.