“…Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” –   John 20:27.

You have to feel a little bit bad for Thomas. He was a disciple. He walked with Jesus. There is certainly more to him than the one day of skepticism that gave him the nickname “doubting Thomas.”

After Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples behind closed doors, Thomas wasn’t with them. So when the disciples told Thomas that Jesus was alive, he didn’t believe them. “I won’t believe it,” he said, “unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side” (John 20:25). When Jesus later appeared to Thomas, the Lord took him up on his offer. He said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (verse 27).

Thomas saw Jesus die and knew He was buried. He had seen those things with his own eyes. Now, a few days later, others were saying Jesus was alive again. They claimed He had appeared to them. It didn’t compute. It challenged the principles of logic and science. Most of us would have come to the same conclusion Thomas did if we were in his shoes. We would be skeptical. We would question what the other disciples claimed. We would verbalize our doubts.

Fortunately for Thomas and for us, Jesus didn’t show up to shun him, scold him, or shame him. Jesus showed up to win him. Jesus didn’t question Thomas’ character or lecture him with doctrine. Instead, Jesus moved closer to him. He invited Thomas to see His scars and touch the holes in His hands. Jesus was basically saying “I’m here. I’m real. See for yourself.”

Thomas heard a story that Jesus had risen from the dead. And at that moment, he thought it couldn’t be logically possible. But after he met Jesus personally he believed. In verse 28, Thomas exclaims of Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”  We were all skeptics at one time or another who need to experience Jesus as true and trustworthy. Jesus isn’t afraid of human scrutiny. He doesn’t need to be because His story holds up when scrutinized. It always will because it’s true.

As followers of Jesus, we will have friends who are seekers, skeptics, and sinners. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus tells His followers to “let your light shine before others, that they may see.…” When skeptical, doubting, far-from-God friends look at one who was once skeptical but now are people who’ve examined the evidence of the gospel and believed it to be authentic, let them see the light of Jesus.

We need to remember we are all a little like Thomas while we are working to become more like Jesus.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Should we be afraid of our doubts? Why or why not?
  2. How can we be honest about our doubts? How do we take our doubts to Jesus?

The Prince Of Peace

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6.

Peace is something we all long for. It is one of humanity’s greatest needs and desires. We struggle with fear of the future, conflicts in relationships, financial stress, health problems and so much more. In this day and age when anxiety is at an all-time high, peace can seem like an impossible dream. Good thing God specializes in doing the impossible.

Jesus came as our Prince of Peace. He is the only reason we can truly live peacefully with God and others. The peace Jesus brings is one that is beyond comprehension. It is a peace that comes from knowing that God has everything well in hand, even when it doesn’t look like it. It is a sense of well-being, knowing you are perfectly safe in the middle of trials and storms because you have something to anchor you. It is knowing that you are a child of God and as a result are safe, loved, and receiving grace. This peace comes from knowing your identity is secure in Christ and your destiny is sure.

God gives us the blueprint for dealing with our fears. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”  We should not deal with fears on our own, but rather hand our fear over to God and He will do the rest. During the day, keep God foremost in your mind. Remember that He is with you wherever you go. Don’t let your fears influence you. Rather, build your faith.  I challenge you today, instead of worrying about what may happen, to begin to replace those fearful thoughts with scriptures of God’s promised protection. The next time you are faced with fear, make a decision to remain in the peace that God has already given you.

The peace that Jesus offers is perfect, lasting peace. The night before He died, Jesus promised His disciples, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27). He also said to them, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Often, living a peace-filled life comes down to a choice. Choosing to rely on Him, choosing to trust Him no matter what, choosing to pray in all that we face, choosing not to be anxious, choosing to believe that He’s always with us and in control, and choosing to set our thoughts on the peace that only He can give.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Take some time to think back over your life. Do you notice any correlation between your submission to God and the peace that you have had? What is the peace that Jesus gives that is not like the world’s peace?