24. NO SEEING, NO BELIEVING! (John 20:19-29)

BACKGROUND: The words of Thomas are recorded only three times in the New Testament. The leader may read John 11:7-8,16 and 14:5-6.
  1. What were the good traits in the character of Thomas? What about the bad ones?
    • Why do you think Jesus had chosen a man like this as one of his disciples?
    • Think of various possible reasons why Thomas was not with the other disciples on the evening of Easter Sunday.
       
  2. Some of the disciples had seen the empty tomb, the empty strips of linen and heard the witness of Mary Magdalene. Did these men believe in the resurrection of Jesus at that point (verse 19)?
     
  3. Why had Thomas decided not to believe in the resurrection although three things proved that it really had happened: the prophecies of the Old Testament, the predictions of Jesus himself, and the unanimous witness of his 10 best friends (verse 25)?
    • Which is more understandable for you; that Thomas would have believed in resurrection because of all the evidence, or that he still couldnít do so?
       
  4. What, for you, is the thing most difficult to believe without seeing? (You can also answer this in your heart.)
     
  5. For the whole week that followed, Thomas was the only one among the rejoicing disciples who didnít have any reason to be happy. How do you think he felt during those eight days?
    • Why did Thomas nevertheless stick to the company of the other disciples instead of going his own way?
    • What would have happened to Thomas if he had left his friends at this point?
    • What will happen to us if we leave the Christian fellowship when we have some doubts about the truth of the Christian faith?
       
  6. How do you think Thomas felt when, after a week, he heard his own words from the mouth of the risen Lord (verse 27)?
    • Do you think Thomas actually put his finger into the scars of Jesus? Give your reasons.
    • What new things did Thomas realize about the meaning of Jesusí cross through this incident?
       
  7. Thomas was the first person in all the New Testament who calls Jesus "God", not just "the Son of God" (verse 28). Why is it so important to believe that Jesus is God Himself?
    • Can you make the same confession about Jesus as Thomas did?
       
  8. What does verse 29 say to you personally today?
    • Why do we need to believe in Godís mercy and help, even before seeing or experiencing it?
       
  9. According to this passage, how does Jesus treat a person who wants to believe in him but canít?
    • What is the difference between a faith that is fighting against doubts, and a faith that has never doubted?
GLAD TIDINGS: When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he believed without seeing. He could experience only the wrath of God at that moment, and yet he called God his own God (Matt.27:46). This is how he suffered the punishment of all doubting Thomases, and is able to help them even now.

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