E-votional - Hopeful Thomas
April 19 - April 25, 2004


So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

John 20:25 (NRSV)


As far as he knew, it was all over and he found he understood less and less.  His teacher was gone, his strength diminished.  Thomas was beside himself, maybe that is why he was not around when Jesus returned to the disciples.  Later, Thomas was told Jesus was back, and instead of words of excitement coming from his mouth, we hear the words of hurt and doubt.  Unless .... , I will never believe.  Friends, this is doubt, but never mistake it for disbelief.  Doubt is the bridge from disbelief to faith.  Doubt and faith are like brothers and sisters, close but extremely different.  Doubt is hope.  Disbelief is no.  Doubt is an open door.  Disbelief is a door locked.

Hear the Good News, Christ is a matter of faith.   Like Thomas, we too struggle with knowing, understanding and experiencing His as we would like.  So often, our head and heart are locked up in a battle of what is right, what is true and what makes sense.  Following His resurrection, the disciples were a mess.  They had followed and been the beneficiaries of the physical manifestation of God upon the earth, God in their midst.  And like a storm which appears out of no where, their teacher, was taken from them, Jesus' presence and life.  Certainly the disciples were aware of the increasing conflict, but they believed they were in the presence of The Messiah.  This was their faith.  Their head and their hearts were working together until He was taken.  They had moved from faith to doubt.  Thomas, who knows where he was.  Upon the death of Jesus, he may have been to the point of disbelief.  Here we are.
Whether or not we are at a place of doubt, disbelief or faith, we must understand there is movement from each of these places.  This movement is based upon our experience of Christ.  Two extremes are illustrated in both Peter and Thomas.  Peter knew who Jesus was, yet he did not know what to believe after Jesus' death, yet upon hearing of the empty tomb, he ran, with John to see, to believe.  Thomas, upon hearing of the risen Christ, demanded more.  Perhaps Peter had gone from belief and faith to doubt, while Thomas had gone from faith and hope to disbelief.  When the two heard the good news, Peter went from doubt to faith and hope, finally experiencing assurance through the experience.  Thomas, on the other hand, goes from disbelief to hope, but he still needs more.  Who knows where we are all at in our understanding of Jesus.  There is something we must understand as we shape our faith and hope.  Our foundation of Christ, our experience with Christ is really three things:
• It's A Mystery - We are not expected to fully understand, just believe. (1 Cor 2:11)
• It's Relational – Thomas needed the touch, the sight, the experience, that is how we are wired.
• It's Active – Go, and I will meet you. (MT 28:10)
Be children of hope and of Faith.


   Gracious God, I want to praise You, because of Jesus I have hope for life and living.  I do believe, please help my unbelief.  You are so difficult to understand, but then I have a hard time understanding myself.  Strengthen my faith, that I might be able to share You with others. Thank You for all You have done and all You continue to do.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Grace & Peace

David Banks
Jewett United Methodist Church
PO Box 254
Jewett, TX 75846
(903) 626-4003


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