19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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 it.”
26 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!” 27 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.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.—The words of the Apostle John from John 20:19-31
One Sunday morning during the morning worship service, when I was about seven-years-old, the pastor of my home church in Bradford, Pennsylvania, called all the children down to the front of the church. We all scampered down the sloping aisles and gathered around him just in front of the altar rail.
“I want to tell you a secret this morning if you promise not to tell anyone that I told you. Does that sound okay to you? Secrets are kind of fun. We’ll just pretend that all these people sitting here in the congregation can’t hear me talking to you.
“Here’s the secret: this is the most believable time in your life. That’s right. This is the most believable time in your life. The ages that all you children have reached, right now, places you at a time in your life when you are the most likely to believe than you will ever be as you grow older. You see, the older you get, the less you will be willing to believe.”
I remember wondering exactly what point the pastor was making. But, do you know what? I’ve learned that he was right. That period of time when I was a child was the most believable time in my life. As I have grown older, I have learned over and over again that I just can’t trust what other people say. That’s part of the reason that I have become so passionate about seeking out first sources for my information.
Whenever someone, anyone, tells you something, you should ask yourself whether or not that information comes from a “first source.” Often you will discover that you are making quite a few decisions based on second-hand information. Sometimes, information comes to you third-hand, or even tenth-hand. You owe it to yourself, and everyone else, to rely only on information from first sources.
One of the first sources I have learned to trust implicitly rests in God’s written Word, the Bible. I especially find myself drawn to the first-hand accounts of real events recorded in the Bible. The passage at the beginning of this blog post contains one of those first-hand accounts. The Apostle John has written down for us the account of Jesus following His crucifixion.
This Bible passage describes one of Jesus’ disciples, a man named Thomas, who has become famous down through history as a man who was not willing to believe without seeing for himself. After Jesus rose from the grave on Easter morning, Jesus had appeared to the disciples, but for some reason, Thomas was not present. When the other disciples told Thomas that Jesus had appeared to them, Thomas said that he wasn’t going to believe it unless he saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and the place in Jesus’ side where the sword of the Roman soldier had pierced Him.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples again, Thomas was present and he got to see exactly those things that he needed to see in order to believe. However, Jesus responded by saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.”
So, if you happen to have children or grandchildren in your life, I want you to promise me that you will strongly encourage them to fully enjoy this “childhood” part of their lives. Tell them to enjoy the fact that, at least for right now, believing is quite easy for them.
And, for your own part, as well as for the sake of your children or grandchildren, never lose sight of the fact that believing what Jesus tells us is true is one of the most important lessons we can learn.
Will you pray with me?
Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Help us be people who come to trust that whatever Jesus tells us is absolutely true. We pray in and through the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.