John 20:19-31

“Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Sermon Transcript:

I wanna start off our  time this morning, just by asking a simple question. Why do people do the things they do this question? Probably some of us have asked, but why do people do the things they do? And I don’t mean the little stuff.

Like why’d that person cut me off in traffic on my way to church this morning. Now I’m in a bad mood. You know, I was, ah, I mean the, the bigger things. Like, why do people climb mountains, run races, make movies, write books, do all those types of things. Well, the best reason, there’s a whole bunch of reasons for why people do those things, but the best reasons are rooted in meaning like I’m trying to, to prove something to myself, I’m trying to prove something to other people.

I have a message to share. I have a message to communicate. We’re gonna read a text this morning where the author literally spells out for us. Why he’s writing the book in John chapter 20, a story about Jesus’ resurrection and his appearance to the disciples afterward. And right after that story, John tells us why he’s writing John.

What, what did John think he was doing when he was writing the. right. We find that out in the passages that we’re gonna read this morning, you might be thinking, okay, that’s great. Why is that important? Why is it important to understand why some guy 2000 years ago wrote a book about Jesus? Another guy who lived 2000 years ago?

Well, we’ll read in the text that John believed he was writing a book that would help people believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and that through him, we can have life. John thought he was writing a book that would bring people to belief in Jesus who would give true life. See Jesus claimed to be more than just a guy that lived 2000 years ago, and maybe you’ve grown up in the church and you’ve heard these things.

Maybe you haven’t, I don’t know where you’re coming today, but Jesus claimed to be a lot of things. One of them was that he claimed to be the way to. and that’s real life, true life, everlasting life, meaningful life. So this is a big deal. It, it has impact on us here. And now this is why it’s important for us to understand why John wrote this message.

What, what does God have to say to us today? Because of who Jesus is. Again, I don’t know where you’re at in life right now. Maybe you’re coming here and there’s some upheaval in your life. Maybe there’s some turmoil, maybe you’re coming here, agitated and, and things just aren’t sitting right with you.

Maybe there’s some people that you’ve put your trust in, and those people have let you down. Maybe some things you, you thought you’d be further along in some things. And those things just haven’t gone, right. Or maybe things are going just fine for you, but you, you know, maybe you’ve been doing this Christian thing, you know, doing all that.

But it feels like God’s distant. You know, you hear these stories of God doing these amazing things in other places and other people. And you’re like, Hey, well where’s my moment. And what what’s going on? What, why isn’t God doing this for me? Or maybe you’re somebody’s in the season of nearness with God.

And you’re like, yeah, this is, I mean, God’s just so close to me right now. I feel this, but I, I, I want that for somebody else. You have somebody in mind, somebody that you’re praying for somebody, maybe some people that are coming to mind right now. And you’re like, man, why doesn’t God just do for them? What he’s done for me?

I want God so badly to bring that person or those people to himself and have him know him the way that I know him. Right. I don’t know where you’re at in life, but our text this morning speaks to all of these emotions, these feelings, these spaces, and more. So we can turn to, uh, real quick. Maybe I’m hitting on some things for you and maybe I’m not.

Um, but all of what I just spoke about comes down to what we place our faith in, where can we place our faith? No, nobody, none of us wants to go through life, taking these steps, putting our trust and our faith in these things that are ultimately gonna let us down. We wanna know that when we take a step forward, we’re not stepping into quicksand.

We want to know that we’re stepping into something that’s firm that can hold us. Right? One of the best definitions that I’ve heard for faith. And this is actually your first, first, uh, blank in the, um, for you to fill out. One of the best definitions I’ve heard for faith is that it’s a ventured trust.

Faith is ventured trust. It’s acting on trust, acting out, taking a step out. in something that you believe in what we don’t know if that is, if that thing or person is worthy of our trust or worthy of our faith, you know, it’s just like a, a plane isn’t airworthy until it actually flies a ship isn’t seaworthy until it actually sails.

We need to discover that what we step out in, what we place our faith in is actually worthy of our faith. And we’re gonna look at our text today and find out that Jesus is worthy of our faith. So let’s turn to John 20 this morning. This is, uh, if you don’t have a Bible, it’s in the pew in front of you, it’s pages 8 52 and 8 53.

So you can turn there or you can turn on your Bible as we do these days with your app. However, we wanna do that and let’s just read through this passage. John 20 beginning verse 19. On the evening of that day, what day? This is the day resurrection Sunday. This is the day on the evening of that day. The first day of the week, the doors being locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jews.

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, peace, be with you. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord, Jesus said to them again, peace be with you as the father has sent me even. So I’m sending you when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them receive the holy spirit.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you withhold forgiveness from many, it is withheld. Now, Thomas, one of the 12 called the twin was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him we have seen the Lord. but he said to them, 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 eight days later, his disciples were inside again.

And Thomas was with them. Although 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 and see my hands, put out your hand, place it in my side, do not disbelief, but believe Thomas answered him. My Lord and my God, Jesus said to him, have you believed because you’ve seen me blessed are those who have not seen and yet have.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. And that by believing you may have life in his name, you see Thomas and the disciples discovered that Jesus was worthy of their faith, that Jesus was worthy of their faith.

And what we want to speak about today, looking at this passage is we want to understand and know the same thing. What, who, or what is worthy of our faith. Jesus is the only one who is worthy of our faith. If you take nothing else away from today, take that away. That’s the big idea today. Jesus is worthy of your faith.

Jesus is worthy of my faith. He’s the only one. All right, so we’re gonna get right into it. And we’re just gonna break down this passage verse by verse. So begin verse 19 again, on the evening of that day, resurrection Sunday, the first day of the week doors being locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jews.

All right, let’s get, uh, let’s get situated here. Put yourselves in this time. In this moment, we have the disciples gathered in a room with doors, locked for fear of the Jews. All right. It’s Sunday, what’s just happened. Well, Thursday, just a couple days ago, Jesus was arrested and the disciples, some of them had said, you know, I’ll go with you to death.

I will stand by Jesus. I’m so committed to Jesus that I’ll die with him. You know, I’m I’m with him to the end, but when Jesus was arrested, all the disciples scattered. You know, nobody. Yeah. Peter and John, they were kind of in the background following along and those things, but nobody stood by Jesus the way they thought they would.

Or some of them thought they would, it’s not like anybody stood there and said, look, you you’re arresting Jesus. You’re arresting me too. Nobody did that. Right. So they’re all, they’re all scattered when Jesus is arrested. And then, all right, let’s see how this thing plays out. And it plays out in the way that I don’t know if they expected or not, but Jesus on Friday is brutally tortured and executed.

He’s slaughtered the Jewish religious leaders pushed the Romans to completely destroy this man in a bloody torturous fashion. That’s their leader, right? Our leader has just been slaughtered. so that happened Friday, Saturday, the Sabbath, we don’t know what happened silent, but I can imagine that they’re reeling.

wouldn’t you be? And then we come to Sunday and Mary Magdalene and a few other women who are followers of Jesus. They go to the tomb to pay their respects, to put spices on Jesus’ body to take care of his body. There’s a problem though. Good problem. His body’s gone. They get to the tomb, the stones rolled away and there’s no body in there like you where’s the body.

So Mary runs back tells the disciples, Hey, you know, Jesus’s body is missing. I don’t know where they’ve taken him. Peter and John runs into the tomb. He has same deal. Like, I don’t know what’s going on. So now imagine. You’re there, right? Mary stays at the tomb after Peter and John come back, Jesus appears to Mary, Mary goes back and tells the disciple.

So now you’re in this room and you’ve got the doors locked because the religious leaders are trying to figure out, Hey, where, where is Jesus’ body? We thought we squashed this thing. We needed to squash this thing what’s going on. And the disciples are suspects. Number one, right? So now you’re, you’re locking the doors because you’re afraid of what’s going on.

And Mary believes that Jesus appeared to her. John believes Jesus has risen from the dead. And here’s where we come to. Our passage. Disciples are in that locked room and Jesus appears to them. And Jesus says to them, you just next verse says Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, and take another pause and think, put yourself in their minds again, put yourself in their shoes.

What’s he gonna say? Jesus came to them and or what’s he gonna say, like we all scattered, is he going to, you know, what what’s he gonna do? What’s he gonna say? And Jesus says to them, peace, be with you. That must have hit them differently at that moment. After going through all that turmoil, Jesus said promised peace.

You can look at this. Uh, in John 1427, John 1633, just pay attention to leading up to the crucifixion. Jesus promised to give peace promise to bring peace. He promised to give them the spirit and then he’s slaughtered. And now he’s in front of them again. And he says peace B to you. That must have hit differently.

Just understand that you have a, a God who initiates peace with you. You have a guide who brings. Peace to you. When Jesus had said this verse 20, he showed them his hands and his side. And then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord, like, Hey, you you’ve seen what I’m seeing. Everybody’s seeing the same thing.

Like this is real. Like, Jesus is really here.

Jesus said to them again, peace, be with you. And that you, you all, all of you, we need like a Texan or a Southern peace. Be with y’all as the father has sent me even. So I am sending you. Hmm, here we come to our first first thing,

where can we place our faith verse 21? Well, we could place our faith in our performance. Right? We could place our faith in our performance. Remember these disciples? , you know, they thought they would stand with Jesus. They thought they would be, you know, they would do all of this and maybe you’re, you’re there thinking, man, I I’ve got this standard.

And I, I thought I would measure up to it or there’s these things that I never thought I would do. And I’ve fallen below that. Like whatever you’ve got, maybe you’re there and we can put our faith in our past performance, but that can’t hold us. That won’t sustain us. Have you ever felt that you’ve, you’ve blown it with God or that you’ve, you’ve just totally messed up that God’s not going to view you the same way that God’s, God’s lost love for you based on your performance, based on what you haven’t done or what you have done this.

This is where the disciples were and what do we see that Jesus bring? He brings peace. and he brings the spirit he gives the spirit. So if that’s you today, just understand you have a, God, you have a savior who wants to bring you peace and wants you to receive peace and receive the spirit. There’s this song that starts out as song JIRA, Gyra just very early on in the song says, yeah, I wasn’t holding you up.

So there’s nothing I can do to let you down. Right? It’s not us who are holding God up, who are lifting and, and God’s not dependent on us. God’s peace. Isn’t dependent on you or me. It’s dependent on who he is. Keep moving here. when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them received the holy spirit, brings the spirit.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. I want to take one minute and just talk about this quickly. I don’t believe that this is the central focus of this passage, but there are some traditions that believe. Okay. See, here’s Jesus transferring authority to the disciples.

And now the disciples have the authority to forgive sins. I don’t believe that’s what’s happening, but I, I just wanna address this in case some of you are looking at that and thinking, wow, they have this like superpower now. That’s awesome. Well, we don’t see, I, I don’t believe that’s the case because we don’t see the apostles going out and forgiving sins or withholding forgiveness of sins on their own merit.

Right. We’re going through the act series. we don’t see the apostles doing that. They are consistently preaching about forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name. It all comes back to who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. It’s belief in Jesus as the Messiah for the forgiveness that’s that’s who can forgive sins only God can forgive sins.

And the disciples are commissioned to preach that message and what a, an amazing recommissioning for them. They thought that they had lost it maybe, but God says to them, Jesus says to them, I haven’t given up on you. I still have a role for you. I still have a job for you. I want you to go out and carry this message.

Jesus. Hasn’t given up on them. He hasn’t given up on you. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on God.

Now we get to Thomas verse 24. Now Thomas, one of the 12 called the. was not with them when Jesus came. Ah, like, can you imagine not being there? And like, everybody else was there was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, we have seen the Lord. Now Thomas gets a bad rap. Right? You doubting Thomas disbelieving, Thomas, like people, we don’t know the, the whole thing here is we don’t know why he wasn’t there.

We’re not told that. We just know that he wasn’t there, but he was with the disciples, like right after this, it’s still the same night. All of this takes place on the same night here so far. And either the disciples went to where Thomas was, or maybe Thomas showed up to the same room later. One of the others, you know, one of the two is true.

We don’t know which one. but have you ever felt like maybe you just missed out on something great. Some amazing movement of God that you weren’t a part of and what can that do in your heart? What, what does that do? Something where you’re like, man, I, I heard that, that God moved in all these other people and it’s like, ah, you know, I wasn’t there.

What, what happened? And sometimes that, that triggers us to look at others’ faith, look at other how God’s moving in other people and become jealous of that. And that’s really faith. I’m calling that your second blank here, faith and circumstances. that is faith. It’s, it’s really a totally comparatively based faith.

It’s like, I’m constantly looking at how God’s moving in other people. And it’s like, man, if I just had the right connections, if I was just in the right place at the right time and it just hasn’t worked out for me the way I thought it would. Well, that’s not that that’s faith rooted in circumstances, luck, fortune, you know, right.

Connections. And we need to shift our focus because that will never hold us the faith of other people or the faith of based on being in the right place at the right time is not worthy of your faith because there’s gonna be times where things don’t work out.

Keep going verse 25 second part. So Thomas is here in disciples. Tom. We’ve seen the Lord, but he said to them, 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’ll never believe. So Thomas comes here. He’s, he’s wanting what the other disciple has got.

Um, I wanna make it again. Thomas gets a bad rap, but the Bible makes it clear if you read the other gospel accounts, none of the disciples believed that Jesus was written from the dead until they saw read Luke, especially the resurrection account. It makes it really clear that none of them believed until they saw.

So it’s, it’s not that Thomas was in like this different space or like he was the only one, but he missed out on Jesus’s appearance. And I was like, ah, that must have been so hurtful. See the other times that we read about Thomas, he’s got a couple other speaking parts in John. I’ll just read them quickly.

John 11. Uh, Jesus says, let’s go to Judea again. The disciple said to him, uh, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone. You and you’re going there again, like that’s the place where they’re, they’re gonna kill you. Thomas is the one who speaks up a few verses later. So Thomas called the twin said to his fellow disciples, well, let us also go.

We might die with him. Like guys, I’m in it. I’m in it a hundred thousand percent, whatever you want to say there, like Thomas is devoted to Jesus, John 14, Jesus is speaking. He says, you know, the way to where I’m going. Thomas said to him, Lord, we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way Jesus said, I am the way the truth, the.

No one comes to the father except through me. So the, the other times that we see Thomas speaking up, it’s because he wants to be with Jesus. Like he’s devoted to Jesus. We don’t see a guy who’s like, uh, I don’t know. Like we see a guy who’s fully in and that’s the guy who’s not there when Jesus shows up, man, that must have hurt.

So now, Thomas, for whatever reason, he’s singled out this way. Now Thomas has this list of demands. Well, I need to see Jesus. I need to see the marks in his hands and put my finger in the marks. I need to put my hand on his side. I need the same things. Have you ever demanded things of God? In the same way.

I certainly have God, I need you to do this, this and this. And then I’ll believe, or my faith would just be, you know, strengthened. If, if God did this for my bank account and did this for my career, uh, put this person gave me this relationship, gave me this support system or took that person away outta my life.

You know, whatever it might be. And we have this list of demands and that’s really your next blank here. That’s faith in God working on my terms. That’s faith in my demands. That’s faith in God doing things my way, when it didn’t happen, the way I thought it would, or should I get all Ben outta shape shows that I’m, I’m trusting my expectations more than I’m trusting God

that won’t hold us either. Your expectations won’t hold you either. All right. Eight days later, eight days must have felt like an eternity. Think it was those eight days. Right? Jesus just shows up to the disciples, Thomas isn’t there. And he’s like, you know, I said, what? I said, I need Jesus to do this, this and this.

And maybe Thomas is thinking, okay, Sunday, maybe Thomas is thinking, Monday is my day. Jesus is gonna show up to me today. Maybe Tuesday, maybe Wednesday, Thursday. These are not happy days. Hey, somebody got, somebody knows the show Friday. Alright. It’s been a week after the, still nothing. Saturday Sabbath may I know like Jesus like to do things on the Sabbath, you know, maybe it’s today, nothing.

Sunday. It’s been a week since he appeared to the other disciples maybe today, nothing. Ah, now I’m in a routine of. expecting God to not show up. And the, the number eight has some significance in the Jewish mindset and it’s tied to new creation. Like there’s this pattern, but then sometimes God does something brand new.

And I just want to say, be ready. As we, as we get back into the routine of things, you know, it’s labor day tomorrow, and then things kick back off and we’re right back in the swing of things, be ready for God to step into the routine and maybe mess up the routine, be open to him, working there. If we get all bent outta shape about that, maybe we’re putting our faith in the routine a little bit more than we should, that one’s free of charge.

I don’t think it’s in your, in your handout, but that one’s free. All right. The disciples were inside again. Thomas was with them. I just want to draw that out. If we’re struggling with something like Thomas was struggling, he was open about it. He, he could have faked it until he made it right. Like, oh, that’s great.

You just showed up for you. I’m so happy for you. Like he could have done that, but he was open about it. Like, you know, I, I want Jesus to do, you know, I need Jesus to do this. And we also see that Thomas didn’t close himself off from being with God’s people. So I just want to say if you’re in a, in a moment in a season of struggle right now, do not close yourself off from God’s people and be open about where you are, be open about where you are.

You have a God who’s big enough to work in those moments and handle, handle that. All right. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace, be with you all. Then he said to Thomas, ah, man, that must have, imagine being Thomas in that moment said to Thomas, put your finger here, see my hands, put out your hand, place it in my side.

Don’t disbelieve. But believe, I think it’s so significant that Jesus says to Thomas the exact same things that Thomas said to the other disciples when they thought Jesus wasn’t there. I, you know, I didn’t think Jesus was here. And man, if you and I have faith, , this is your last one. I think if you, yeah, if you and I have faith in God, only working in ways that we can fathom or that we can understand, or that we can perceive, that’s really faith in my own understanding.

And there’s been times in my life. Maybe there’s been times in your life. When I, I didn’t think that God was working. I thought God was absent. And then I can look back later and see, wow, was God working? I didn’t see it, but man, God was working. So if you’re feeling like God is withdrawn from you and God is distant from you and God can’t work with you.

Be assured that you have a God who brings peace, gives you this spirit hasn’t given up on you. And has you here for a reason. Open your heart to hearing from him. Thomas answered and said, my Lord, my God, God knew what Thomas needed more than Thomas knew what he needed better than Thomas knew what he needed.

Your God knows what you need better than you do. Thomas said these demands and you know, he, he said he needed all these things. And what we see in this story is Jesus shows up and just speaks to him. And Thomas believes. So we didn’t necessarily get everything he asked for, but he got what he needed. You and I, Ken too couple closing observations.

Jesus said to him, have you believed because you’ve seen me blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed that’s you and me. And sometimes we want to, we want those same experiences that the disciples had. or maybe you’re not a believer in Jesus. And you’re like, ah, you know, it’d be great. If he showed up to me, well, what we see here, Jesus, doesn’t say you’re missing out.

Jesus gives you a blessing. He gives a blessing for those who haven’t believe haven’t seen, but have believed. So you’re not missing anything required to come to faith in Jesus Christ to put your faith in Jesus Christ. And these things are written that you might have faith in his name, that believing you might have life in his name.

Lastly, this life is meant to be lived. Now, this is a here and now thing. A lot of times Christians believe or think you might hear this. It’s like it’s, it’s tied to our faith may be tied to escaping this world. Right. It’s like, I just can’t wait to get to heaven where things are gonna be perfect for me.

it’s like, that’s our focus. If God’s goal was, if his purpose was to just have his children immediately be with him. As soon as they believed in like heaven, he would do that. He could take us, right. He could just zap us soon as you come to believe he could zap you. So his purpose is bigger than that. His purpose is bringing his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

And he does that through his gift of the spirit, through his people. So this is a here and now thing. You don’t have to wait until heaven to live. God gives us the call and the power to live here and now, and that’s real life. That’s real purpose. That’s life. That’s based on the only one. Who was worthy of our faith.

So now you might ask this all sounds great. I know, you know, all these different things, and I know I should be placing my faith in Jesus. He’s the only one worthy of my faith, but how do I do that? How do I do that? Well, three things real quickly pay attention to what makes you feel angry or sad or anxious or joyful fulfilled, satisfied, pay attention to those things and use them as triggers to pray, even praying out loud.

Like pastor Margo was talking about, if you dare use those as triggers to pray, because it might be that your faith is in something or someone other than God. And God will reveal that to you. But what if you feel like God’s the one that’s let you down that God’s the one that hasn’t come through for you use that as a trigger to pray too, use that, communicate that, speak that out loud or silent.

However, say that to God, because in those moments, you might have a revelation that maybe you’re putting your faith in your own understanding or your own demands or something or someone other than God. And you’ll see that it has it. Isn’t Jesus, that’s let you down. And that’s an important trigger for us to understand if I’m feeling that I need to pray and I need to communicate that.

Lastly, just it’s through prayer. It’s through meditation on scripture and it’s through being with God’s people, being in a community of believers. that God can reorient our faith, that God can reestablish our faith, strengthen our faith, encourage our faith. I heard, uh, or I read an article that described prayer as this prayer is rebellion.

Prayer is rebellion against the kingdom of this world and it’s bowing our knees to a different king. It’s bowing, our knees to the only king who is worthy of our faith. I’m gonna call the band back up. We’re gonna close in this song this morning. Might again be wondering how can I do that? Well, it’s not, it’s not through my effort.

It’s not through your effort. It’s not through the faith of other people. This is only possible because of Jesus because of Christ in us. And listen to the words of this song as we close and just see where, where, where is peace mentioned? How does peace come to us? How does the spirit come to us?