Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thomas and His Moment of Truth

I can't remember a day in my life when I didn't believe in Jesus Christ. I was raised in a Christian home with Christian parents, attending church anytime the doors were open. But like a lot of people, I had questions about the Bible. About church. About God. Unlike a lot of people, however, I never strayed from my childlike faith as I went seeking answers. I've shared on this blog before how I surrendered my all to the Lord at the age of 28 and I've been walking with Him ever since. I would say that May 23, 1992 was my "Moment of Truth". 

Do you have a "moment of truth"? A time when you knew that you knew that you knew Jesus was exactly who He said He was?

Thomas did. 

Thomas, also called Didymus, was one of Jesus' disciples. (Matthew 10:3) We don't know a lot about Thomas. The Bible doesn't say what his occupation was when he encountered the Messiah. My guess is Thomas may have been present when John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29) or heard about it from an eyewitness. He was probably there when Jesus gave the 'sermon on the mount.' Mark 3:13 tells us that Jesus went up on a mountainside and "called to him those he wanted, and they came to him." Thomas was one of those chosen.

Can you imagine being hand-picked by Jesus?! Wow! What an honor!

But like the rest of us, Thomas had faults. He was clearly a very passionate person. When news reaches Jesus and the disciples that Lazarus is dead, Thomas says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." (John 11:16) That's some serious devotion to a friend. 

While Thomas is remembered more for his doubts than anything else, he is the one who asked the question that brought some of the most beautiful and memorable words from Jesus' lips. Jesus had just shared that he'll be going away soon but promises the disciples they'll be with him one day. Thomas, voicing what was on everyone's mind, says:

"Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:5-6) 

Thomas was there when Jesus was arrested. And he was there when Jesus was crucified. He saw his Lord--the one whom he had put all his faith in!--die on a cross. He watched them carry the body away and seal it in a tomb. Oh, the grief the disciples must have experienced that day. Everything they had believed in...was it all a lie? Look how Thomas reacted to the death of Lazarus. He was devastated by Jesus' death.

When the resurrected Jesus appears to the disciples in John 20:19, Thomas is not with them. Where was he? My thought is he simply needed to be alone. Locked in a room with a bunch of other grieving people probably got to him and he had to get away for a while. It sure was lousy timing, because that's when Jesus appeared!

I wonder. Did Jesus pick that particular moment to appear because Thomas wasn't there? To give Thomas--and us!--a lesson in faith?

When he returns to the room, the others are excited and rush to tell him they've seen the risen Lord! But Thomas isn't buying it.

"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 it."  (v. 25)

One week later his world changed!

Though the doors are locked, Jesus came and stood in the room with them. Imagine the hushed excitement. Imagine Thomas' reaction. Stunned, I'm sure. When Jesus approaches him, he invites Thomas to "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

"Thomas said to [Jesus], "My Lord and my God!"

Thomas' moment of truth arrived that day. His Lord and His God stood right in front of him. Our moment of truth will come a little differently. Jesus knew Thomas believed because he'd seen, but... 

..."Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Thank you, Lord! I definitely believe!
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are: 
USA, Ukraine, Netherlands, Russia, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Philippines 

Note: Thanks to Pastor Joe Champion of Celebration Church for the awesome sermon series "Moment of Truth" March 2008. 

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