“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things
at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law,
and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Matthew 16:21 (NIV)
“Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve,
was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
So, the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’
But he said to them, ‘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.’ 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.’ 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 20:24-29 (NIV)
This appearance to “doubting Thomas” is likely the best known appearance to people inside and outside the church. We thank God for this stubborn man and his vigorous demand to see his resurrected Lord for himself. No witness can persuade him that Jesus was seen alive. Thomas is seen three times in John’s Gospel in a negative way (John 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-25). He seems to see the hole and not the donut in every situation. Such people can try our patience, but Jesus chose him, and we thank God such a doubter was among the twelve. He removes any reason whatsoever for anyone to question the fact that Jesus was alive as He said.
About one year before the crucifixion Jesus began to talk about a journey He would take to Jerusalem and suffer much, die, and rise again the third day. This teaching continued right up to the night He was betrayed. Sadly, the disciples had only the idea of Jesus setting up His kingdom imminently and the glory they would have in that day.
Often, we can be like the disciples and see only great things coming from our Father’s hand. When adversity strikes, we are bewildered because we think believers must lead charmed lives full of blessings and free from anything negative. Such an erroneous view of the Christian life is called “The health and wealth Gospel” or “The prosperity Gospel”. Acts 14:22 (NIV) sums up the true message of the early church regarding our faith journey to heaven;
“Confirming the souls of the disciples,
and exhorting them to continue in the faith,
and that we must through much tribulation
enter into the kingdom of God”
Isaac Watts put it well when he wrote the following:
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Since I must fight if I would reign,
Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Your Word.