Embracing Thomas

I found myself this morning in the post-resurrection account of Jesus in the Gospel of John and was struck by the disciples interaction with Thomas.  You remember that during Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples on Sunday evening, Thomas was absent.  John points out to us how the other disciples told him all about Jesus’ appearing and then with strong language Thomas declares, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  

Of course I muse on what happened next.  The disciples offering up every evangelistic technique known to man to convince him of the truth, offers to pray for him, maybe even a search party to go find Jesus so Thomas wouldn’t go to bed in unbelief.  John gives us none of that.  But what he does give us is quite instructive — “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.” There it is! EIGHT DAYS LATER.  They didn’t shun him, push him away, or in anyway distance themselves from relationship, they embraced him.  A week had gone by and he still felt like he belonged to the band of disciples, yet remained unbelieving.

Of course we know the end of the story and Jesus’ appearance and invitation to doubting Thomas, but I find it helpful to note the response of the disciples to Thomas and Thomas to the disciples from his unbelief to his belief – belonging.  It was Jesus, and nothing short of that, removing Thomas’ unbelief, but it was the disciples embracing that kept him there.  Thomas belonged and through his belonging, at just the right time, Jesus shows up and belief comes with him.  May we embrace the Thomas’ and invite them to remain, belong, find acceptance, until God opens their eyes and they see and believe.

With you in building a belonging community,

Pastor Mark 


4 thoughts on “Embracing Thomas

  1. Mark,

    You blessed me greatly this past Sunday with your teaching on God’s majesty and and His ultimate purpose for everything. Amen to all you said! I was also encouraged by your quote of the Shorter Catechism in the bulletin. When I greeted you after the sermon in the foyer, I asked “What is the chief end of man?”, and you answered! I was thinking of this anecdote from BB Warfield:

    The Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield once told the story of an old man who was visiting a rough and tumble town on the western frontier. He saw a young man walking down Main Street who had a confident demeanor. The brawls in the street didn’t seem to trouble him- and he carried himself with a simple grace that belied his youthful appearance. Intrigued, the older man stopped him, and without introduction, asked, “What is the chief end of man?” Without batting an eyelash, the younger man replied, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” The old man said, “Ah, I thought as much. You can always recognize a Shorter Catechism man!”

    God bless you Mark, and prosper you in your ministry. My family and I are looking forward to getting to know you and yours in the coming months and years!



  2. Wow… that was really good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One of my (Kim) favorite passages is when the man asked Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus said he would, if only the man believed he could. The man replied, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”. (Mark 9:23-25) So thankful that the Lord is patient with us during those times of struggling with unbelief due to circumstances and so thankful for those who trudge alongside us through them.

    Looking forward to your sermon being put up on sermon cloud so that we can listen to your message again.

    Mike and Kim


  3. Pastor Mark,

    I agree with CPF. God’s purpose is for His glory and He is glorified in all His attributes. He is glorified especially in liberating man from the bondage of sin. May He continually be glorified in finishing the good work He began in us. My family and I have been visiting for about four weeks and look forward to getting to know you and your family. To the glory of Him who ransomed our lives.



  4. Thank you Pastor Mark,

    It’s a fact that everyone wants to belong and if we, who know we are saved by the blood of Jesus fail to, “invite them to remain, belong, find acceptance, until God opens their eyes and they see and believe.”, then I am afraid that they might go somewhere else that leads them down the wide path.

    My prayer for our church is that we never forget who we were before we met Jesus and remember to hang on tight to the Thomas’.



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