John 20: 24-31 – The World Behind the Text

After our Holy Week together, through the next 50 days, leading up to Pentecost, we are going to take a deeper look each week at different encounters that individuals have with Jesus after the Resurrection.  This week we are going to take a deeper look at a story that I’m sure many of us are familiar with, or at least familiar with the nickname that emerged from it – Doubting Thomas.  Today we’ll look at the world behind the text of John 20:24-31:

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  25 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.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

rootedchristThe very end of this text is actually the key to understanding this story from the text, as well as all the Gospel of John.  John here writes that the purpose of this book was so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. John’s entire Gospel is written for that point.  He is not trying to give you a narrative history of Jesus’ life. John’s Gospel is, in many ways, a testimony.  John has seen the power of Jesus. John has seen Jesus heal, bring the dead back to life and come back to life Himself.  He wants you to believe. That’s all he wants.

The other Gospels are giving you a chronological history.  Not John.  His Gospel answers the big questions.  He has many stories and teachings that the others don’t have because he is using all that he has, every tool in his arsenal, to get you to believe.

That is the lens that we need to see all this Gospel through.  John 10.  John 14.  John 3.  All these chapters that are so well known. They are there, so you may believe.

So, this week, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Thomas.  We’ve heard that Jesus rose from the dead, but it sounds to miraculous to believe.  John wants Thomas to put aside his doubts and just simply believe just like he wants the same thing for you and for me today.

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