‘Doubting Thomas’ Or Brave Thomas? John 20:18-25

Text:  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus (or Twin), unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, (to Judaea), that we may die with Him.
John 11:16.

Good morning, twin-natured Christian!  When you and I were born naturally, we had only one true nature, the natural fallen sin-prone nature we received from our naturally sinful parents, via Adam and Eve.

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years (after his fall into sin by disobedience), and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.  (Genesis 5:3)

Behold (look!), I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.  (Psalm 51:5)

However, in Gods perfect will and timing, He quickened us ‘…Who were dead in trespasses and sins…’; we heard His Word; received faith as a free gift of Gods grace (unmerited favour); and were Spiritually regenerated, made Spiritually alive, born again, into Gods Family.  Praise God for His matchless grace!

Now we have TWO NATURES - the old incurably sinful nature, and the new incurably righteous nature born from Above.  We are TWIN-NATURED, ‘…a peculiar people…’ indeed.

And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sinseven when we were dead in sins, hath quicken us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;).  (Ephesians 2:1-5)

But ye (born again) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an Holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  (1 Peter 2:9-10)

The disciple Thomas has been derogatorily labelled throughout the years as Doubting Thomas - due to the doubt he manifested later in Johns Gospel account featured as our Bible Reading above.  But Thomas was more than this, Thomas, like ourselves, had a better, Spiritually quickened, nature too!  A nature, born from Above, that was courageous and selfless indeed.

The apostle Thomas has been labelled Doubting Thomas down through the centuries due to the doubt he manifested before the other disciples, who were actually cowering in the upper room, during the forty days that followed the Lords Crucifixion.

Thomas was not present with the others when the Resurrected Christ first appeared unto them - and he forthrightly expressed his disbelief in such a miraculous happening.  Is Thomas any different from you and I?  Do we not also doubt the power of God to change circumstances in our lives daily?  Of course we do!   And.  The rest of the disciples have not been derogatorily  labeled as Frightened Andrew, or Terrified Philip, or Scaredy-cat Peter! 

These early followers of Jesus were just like you and me - disgustingly normal Christians.  “…there is no differenceall have come short…” of Gods perfect Standard.  The Lord Jesus is the only perfect Person.

Each follower of Jesus, as we have noted previously, still possessed an old  human nature, as well as the new, Spirit-born, nature regenerated by God.  Thus, they were all naturally frightened - after all, they too were now living under a Jewish and Roman death-threat!  You would be frightened too!

Yet, just look at the courage Thomas manifested in our text for today.  When The Lord Jesus said, “…Let us go unto him (Lazarus, in dangerous Judaea).  Thomas, without hesitation, “…said unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him.  (John 11:16)  Wow!  Now, thats courage!

No, dear Christian friend, Thomas had at least two sides to him, as you and I latter-day followers of Christ have also.  At times he could show great doubt and fear and anxieties.  However, at other times we can also show tremendous courage, resilience, and fortitude - as we seek to live close to the Lord God and walk in His light.

The Lord is my light and my Salvation: whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.  When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.  Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.  (Psalm 27:1-3)

Let us consider this other, less well known, side of the disciple Thomas, and with Scriptural wisdom gained - let us treat each other in a fairer, more just and equal manner.  The Lord loves unity in His twin-natured followers.

Thought: Which nature will YOU and I manifest today - old or new?

God’s Perfect Will and Timing John 11:6-15

Text:  I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a Rock, and established my goings.  And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:1-3.

Good morning, waiting Christian!  Perhaps you, like your unworthy author, too often exercise the blight of impatience?  We are exhorted to ‘…wait patiently for the Lord…’, yet, like impulsive Peter, we tire too easily of our waiting, and seek to hurry the hand of our Omnipotent Lord God.  Sigh

Time and time again we are taught the lesson from Scripture we least like hearing - the lesson that we must ‘…wait patiently for the Lord…’ - His will, and His timing are always just PERFECT.

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.  (Psalm 27:14)

In the verse quoted above, from Psalm 27, we find what many Bible Teachers call the law of the double-mention:  If God the Holy Ghost, the Divine Author of all canonical Scriptures, sees fit to repeat an exhortation, or a command, twice in close Scriptural succession - then we do well to heed the law of this ‘…double mention…’  God the Spirit is emphasizing His will for us.  Wait!

“…Blessed (blessed with many blessings) are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.  (Luke 11:28)

All too often we Christians rush headlong into ventures without first taking those ventures to the Lord in prayer, and seeking His Divine will in the matter.  We are proven to be all too often impulsive and lacking in patience.  Therefore, we can run ahead of the Lords will, and soon our efforts come to nought. 

If God wills the work, the work is always successfully achieved - His timing is always perfect for us.  Wait with patience on Him.

After Christ was verbally informed of the illness of Lazarus, ‘…He abode two days still in the same place where He was.  (V.6) Why did He do this?

To gain correct answers from Holy Scriptures, we must ask ourselves many questions as we read Gods Word.  The Holy Spirit will give us the answers.

In the context of our Bible passage today, we learn that Christ reacted to the verbal message from Mary and Martha by informing all who heard, ‘…This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.  (V.4)  And later in the  story, He certainly was.

Jesus, being God the Son, and knowing all things, did not need to receive verbal communication reference the illness of Lazarus - God knows everything about everybody!  Our Lord God is an Omniscient Lord God.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore…”  (Matthew 10:30-31)

The Lord Jesus was able to tell His disciples that Lazarus was not merely ‘…sick…’, but that, in fact, ‘…Lazarus is dead.  (V.14)

What God says in His Word - God always does!  Gods will is perfect.

Death hold no trepidation for the Living Lord Jesus and His redeemed people.  Christ has conquered death for us and took its ‘…sting…’; the sting of our sin, away.  He took all our sins upon Himself on that Cross and, as our Divine Substitute,  paid the infinite penalty and bore them all away forever.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour we have in the Lord Jesus Christ!  Glory

For He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we (the redeemed) might be made the righteousness of God in Him.             (2 Corinthians 5:21)

O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law (Ten Commandments).  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)  Praise God for such a final Victory!

In Gods Eternal and Divine will and timing: He sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus to us; and made the way to Heaven open for us, for all Eternity.

Thought:  If you are going through some terrible time of testing and suffering today, my friend - trust Jesus.  He loves you, and His will for you is your Eternal good.  The Lord God bless you abundantly.

Lazarus, ‘Mary’s Brother’ John 11:1-5

Text:  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily (truly) I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
Matthew 25:40.

Good morning, well known Christian!  In the local community in which you live - you are well known.  In the local church congregations - you are well known.  Concerning the religious, social, and political issues of the day surrounding the area in which you live - your forthright, but balanced, Christian views are well known.  Praise God it is so!  Praise God for well known Christians!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.  (Matthew 5:16)

Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.   (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

In todays Bible passage - in our Journeying With John series of Bible expositions - we find that Lazarus, the brother of Mary, a very well known woman in Christian circles, had fallen gravely sick.  (Verse 1)

We also learn that Lazarus was ‘…a certain man…’  He was obviously sick, but he was also well known to be ‘…certain…’ concerning what really mattered in his life.  He loved Christ Jesus, and Christ Jesus loved him.

In Lukes Gospel we find that this Lazarus had a sister called Martha who is also described by the Holy Ghost as being ‘…a certain woman named Martha…’, and this ‘…certain…’ family had ‘…received Him (Christ Jesus) into her house…’            (Luke 10:38-39)

Furthermore, from Lukes Gospel account we find that Lazarus and Martha had a sister called Mary, ‘…which also sat at Jesus feet, and heard His Word.  (Luke 10:39)  It is this Mary that is one very well known Christian as featured in todays Bible reading.

In verse two of our selected Bible reading we find that, '...It was this Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet wih her hair, whose borther Lazarus was sick.' (Verse 2)  Mary had personal contact with the Living Lord Jesus.  This family were in close fellowship with God the Son.  "Therefore his sisters..."  Mary and Martha, well known followers of Christ Jesus, "...sent unto Him saying, Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick." (Verse 3)

This God-fearing family did what all God-fearing families should be doing - not only in times of grave crisis, but at all times - staying in constant contact, daily fellowship, with the Lord God, through our ‘…one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.            (1 Timothy 2:5)  Praise His Name!

Now, let us please try to put ourselves in this familys position for a moment:  They trusted the Lord Jesus and were in close fellowship with Him constantly.  They believed, trusted, in Him as the Messiah whose coming had been prophesied for centuries.  Now they cried out to Him for miraculous help to redress their dear brothers grave sickness.  They did what was right!

Too often I hear the thoughtless complaint:  'Well, I have been to all the doctors, now all I have left is prayer to God.'  What a defeatist attitude!

Our FIRST course of action when sickness, trials, testings come should be to bring it to the Lord in prayer, as the hymn-writer exhorts us to do:

Have we trials and temptations, take it to the Lord in prayer.  In His arms Hell take and shield us, thou wilt find a solace there…”  (Hymn: What a Friend We Have In Jesus)

As we have noted above, this Christian family were well known to Jesus, and especially Mary, who had enjoyed such personal contact with Him as she anointed His feet and wiped his feet with her hair.  Being so well known to the Living Lord Jesus, would He then leave them destitute in their hour of deep need?  Never!  The Lord Jesus has promised never to leave us, nor forsake us in such times.  And what God says, God always does!

Let your conversation (whole lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Thought:  Let us strive to draw closer to the Lord this morning.  The Lord loves to fellowship with ‘…certain…’, well known, Christians.

Jesus: The Rejected Saviour! John 10:39-42

Text:  He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.  He came unto His own (the Jewish Nation), and His own received Him not.  But to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.
John 1:10-12.

Good morning, receptive Christian!  You and I are receptive Christians due to the fact that the Lord God Almighty has granted us FAITH to both believe and receive His Son, Christ Jesus. 

We have been Spiritually regenerated from a 'dead spirit', and made alive to the things of God.  We have been ‘…quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…’. Therefore we are made Spiritually receptive to Gods will, as revealed in Gods written Word.  Hallelujah!  Praise God for granting us full reception power!

And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sinseven when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).   (Ephesians 2:1; 5)

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)

So, let us ask ourselves some most pertinent questions today, receptive Christian:  Are we receiving Christs instruction power?  If so, are we acting on that power?  Are we actually transmitting Gods will to others?

If we are being faithful to the Lord God in both receiving and transmitting His will to others - by proclaiming the Gospel message; by witnessing to others concerning our Christian faith; by seeking unsaved souls for Jesus - then we shall have the ever attendant persecutions…’.  The world, the flesh, and the devil should all be earnestly engaged against us.  Is this YOUR daily experience in life, my professing Christian friend?

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men (and women) and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.                             (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

With this Biblical concept in mind therefore, let us ask ourselves whether or not we are receiving such promised ’…persecutions…’, and if not, why not?  Is it because we have ceased transmitting Christs Gospel message?

In todays selected Bible passage we find the Lord Jesus coming under immediate danger and persecution for His forthright witness to the people - having just publicly confronted the Jewish crowds concerning His Divine works.

Therefore they sought again to take Him; but He escaped out of their hand.  (V.39)

The Lord Jesus found it necessary to evade His persecutors, moving away ‘…AGAIN beyond Jordan into the place where John (the Baptist) first baptized; and there He abode. (V.40)

Christs open and forthright transmission of the Gospel - revealing Himself to be the long awaited Messiah - caused the world all around Him, and especially the outwardly religious rulers, to persecute Him and seek to kill Him.  The Lord Jesus was faithfully receiving direction from His Heavenly Father, faithfully transmitting the will of God as He had received it; and suffering open persecution as a direct consequences of His faithfulness.

Are YOU and I being likewise faithful to our calling as Christians in this increasingly apostate  21st Century?

If so, then find encouragement in what followed Christs persecution; be encouraged by what happens every time a faithful Christian is persecuted:

And many resorted unto Him, and said, John did no miracle; but all things that John spake of this Man (Jesus) were true.  And many believed on Him there.  (Vs. 41-42)

Wow!  Now that is what I call a good result!  It makes all the detractions; all the persecutions; all the defamations; all the dangers and threats of danger well worth enduring.  Precious souls being saved are well worth the suffering!

With these Scriptural facts in mind, beloved Christian, let us go forth once more proclaiming the truth of Gods Word and transmitting Christ, and Him Crucified as the only means of Eternal Salvation.  Glory to the Lamb!

Thought:  Good receivers are well equipped to be good transmitters.