Scripture: “Then Jesus told him (Thomas), ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” (John 20:29 NIV)
Thomas’ name means “doubter.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “doubting Thomas” as incredulous, which means he doesn’t believe or cannot believe the matter. Literally, some people are habitual doubters. They demand answers to their questions before accepting anything because they are skeptics.
After his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared before His disciples to comfort them and proclaim the good news of his victory over sin and death. However, Thomas was not present. After being told of Jesus’ appearance, Thomas stated: “Unless I see the nail marks, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Thomas chose not to believe unless physical proof was provided (John 20:19-30).
How could Thomas doubt Jesus’ death and resurrection after spending three years with him and witnessing miracles and hearing prophecies? The Apostle’s testimonies should have been enough proof of the truth. But Thomas didn’t believe any of them.
A week later, Jesus made another appearance, and this time Thomas was there. Jesus invited Thomas to verify his wound by touching it.
Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas needed evidence before believing Jesus had risen from the grave. Then after witnessing the evidence firsthand, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”
“FRIEND OR FOE?”
Like Thomas, some people struggle with believing the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Nicodemus is a fine example of this truth. The Apostle John described him as the leader of the Jews and a member of the Sanhedrin, and he was a skeptic.
Nicodemus discreetly visited Jesus during the night. He was seeking answers regarding Jesus’s teachings on rebirth. However, he did not risk conversing with Jesus publicly because the sect would consider him a follower of Christ.
On that particular night, Nicodemus questioned Jesus about his ability to perform miracles. Jesus informed him that a person had to be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus didn’t understand, so he asked, “How can a man be born again when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time” (John 3:3-4).
Jesus replied, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:20 Amp. Bible).
Likewise, other skeptics struggle with Scriptural teachings, and like Nicodemus, it all stems from the lack of spiritual knowledge. Therefore the need to ‘see before they can believe’ is inevitable.
ANOINTED FOR THE ASSIGNMENT
In the Book of Judges Chapter Eleven, Gideon is introduced to us as he’s threshing wheat in the winepress instead of the threshing floor. Why? Because he was hiding from Israel’s enemy, the Midianites. The Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon could not identify with the compliment, nor was he sure with whom he was conversing. Therefore, he replied, “Oh my Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all His wondrous works our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of the Midianites.'”
Then the LORD spoke, saying, “Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
He said, “Please LORD, how am I to rescue Israel? My family is the least significant in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.”
And the LORD said unto him, “Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”
Despite Gideon’s fear and lack of faith, the LORD took time to reassure him that he would not have to fight the Midianites alone. What Gideon didn’t realize is those who God calls He anoints for the assignment. Zechariah 4:6 reads, “Not by power nor by might, but by my strength, says the LORD of Host.” It is by the LORD’S strength that the battle is won. God strategically designed a fixed fight allowing Gideon to claim the victory!
TEST #1 – “OH, SAY CAN YOU SEE?”
Gideon felt secure knowing the LORD had assured him of victory over the Midianites. However, he wasn’t convinced that the voice he heard speaking was the LORD; therefore, he asked for a sign. But not before preparing an offering. He asked the LORD to wait, and then he went and prepared a young goat and a loaf of unleavened bread. He returned with a basket containing meat and a pot of broth. He presented these things before the Angel of the LORD as a sacrifice.
The Angel of LORD said, “Take the meat and unleavened bread, lay them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And Gideon obeyed. Then the angel of the LORD extended the tip of the staff in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. And fire flared from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
Gideon received the proof that he needed that it was the LORD speaking to him. And he exclaimed, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.”
TEST #2 – “TO FLEECE OR NOT TO FLEECE?”
After the battle, Gideon took on the assignment of pulling down the Asherah pole and the Baal statue. However, he still didn’t believe he was fit to serve the Lord, so he asked for a sign. He requested proof that he would rescue Israel by his hands as the LORD promised.
So, he put out a piece of wool (fleece) and asked God to make it wet while keeping the surrounding ground dry. God graciously did as Gideon asked.
Next, Gideon asked for another sign, but this time, he asked God to keep the fleece dry while making the surrounding dirt wet. Again, God complied, and Gideon was convinced that God meant what He said. Under Gideon’s leadership, the nation of Israel would have victory over the Median.
Gideon’s faith in God seemed weak at times, but the LORD challenged his strength, and eventually, Gideon stood his ground, believing what God said would come to pass.
“SHOULD A MAN TRY GOD?”
The Bible provides two examples of testing God:
Scripture, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” -Mal. 3:10.
God gives his permission to examine and prove him wrong.
#2– “Do not tempt the LORD your God” (Matt. 4:7).
Scripture: “If you are the son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you (to serve, care for; protect and watch over you)” Psalm 91:11.
Matthew chapter four provides an account of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. satan appears with a list of demands ordering Jesus to prove His identity. He tempted Jesus with fleshly things. However, Jesus’ informed satan “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” And he put an end to satan’s foolery by reminding him, correcting him, and putting him back into a submissive position, he said, “Get behind me satan for it is written, Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and he only shall thou serve” (Matt. 4:10). Then the devil left him.
Jesus provided the proof in each scenario where doubt and unbelief existed. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you will see miracles. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Believing God’s written word is all the proof we need.
Jesus said to Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I ask you, “What do you believe?”
Blessing of love, peace, and joy to you!
None of the Photos belong to Jeanie Martin Ministries.
Golden Fleece Photo: shared courtesy of Pastor Phil Erickson. Jersey Shore Baptist Church
Nicodemus and Jesus, Pinterest, New Testament Perspectives, blogspot.com