We started with Isaiah 40: 21 – 31 a very encouraging start to our time together.
We planned to look at the story of Thomas meeting with Jesus after the ressurection.
I have always felt a bit sorry for Thomas remembered forever as the doubter. He was not always known as the doubter, but referred to earlier in the gospels as the twin. He was also shown to be faithful and brave. In John 11:16 – when Jesus says he is going back to Judea, the other disciples question it because of a plot to kill Jesus. Thomas says “Let us also go, that we may die with him”.
He was sceptical about the resurrection. Put in context his scepticism is very understandable.
The man who he had been following for the past few years, his mentor and teacher had just been brutally put to death by the authorities, what was his fate and the fate of his friends going to be?
This friends claimed to have seen Jesus alive after the execution, something Thomas could not quite believe, unless he was able to see it with his own eyes.
What were these nut case friends of his planning to do now…?
He was scared, worried and had very big doubts about his future and that of his friends.
John 20: 24 – 29
Jesus appears in the room where the disciples were meeting. Thomas is with them, Jesus greeting is “Peace be with you” (20:26) and then reveals to Thomas the wounds made by the crucifixion.
What effect did this have on Thomas?
How did Jesus help with those worries, doubts and fears?
We spent some time thinking about our our own doubts, worries and fears, those we have for our families and those we know and those worries we have for the world.
We wrote these on slates and placed them symbolically at the foot of the cross in a time of prayer.
We chose verses of hope for us all in the form of messages in a bottle. Words to encourage us, to help us with faith, trust and hope.
What else do we know about Thomas, how did meeting with Jesus on that monumental day help his faith, hope and trust?
It is believed that he was the only disciple to tell the good news outside the Roman Empire.
He travelled first to the Parthian Empire (modern day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) and later he travelled to Kerala in South West India, initially to preach to the Jews to Cochin. Later he was thought to have gained a lot of converts among the local Hindus. Converting to Christianity rather undermined the Hindu caste system making Thomas a problem for the high caste Hindus and he was thought to have been martyred.
Even today there are “congregations of Thomas” in Kerala.