April 1, 2012

How Jesus Patiently Loves, Conclusion

Part I here.
Part II here.

Someone is missing from the scene.  The disciple named Thomas is not with them here.  What nickname do we give Thomas?  “Doubting Thomas”.  I think we defame him with such a name. 
So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?"...

"Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." (Joh 11:6-16, ESV)

Yet for all his faith and boldness, where is Thomas now?  Not with the disciples.  He is broken by the events.  Sound familiar?  Sound like some of the same struggles you have faced, where God's plan became a painful mystery too hard to accept?

How does Jesus demonstrate the gospel of God's grace to Thomas? How does He patiently love Thomas?

(John 20)
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.

 Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."

Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

The broken has been restored.  The unbelieving is now believing.  The one who said “unless I see ...” is confronted by the persistent and patient love of Jesus and now he says “My Lord and my God!”   I love Thomas for his proclamation of faith here. 

Jesus' patient love demonstrated in the passages we have briefly examined here gives me great hope.  Great hope for me and for you.  Hope for faith.  Hope for perseverance.  Hope for restoration.  Hope because of God's grace, not because of anything in us or done by us.  Our hope and boasting is in God, not in the strength of men.

In conclusion, John tells us why he wrote these things.  I have reflected on them with the same purpose and goal in mind.

“these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. “

I call you today; man, woman, girl and boy, Christian, and non-Christian alike, to believe that Jesus is the Savior of sinners, to believe he is the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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