Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel; we’re in the Gospel of John:20:24: “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” Of course, Jesus had appeared to the disciples, and Thomas, as it says, was not present. Verse 25: “The other disciples therefore said unto him,” that is, to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Tom: He was looking for some proof.
Dave: On the one hand, Tom, we need proof. We’ve been saying that. We need evidence. On the other hand, this was not good, and Jesus was very gracious to him. What wasn’t good about it? Got all kinds of scriptures, all kinds of prophecies, why didn’t he know? Jesus, remember, had treated the two on the road to Emmaus, a little, um, what could I say…..
Tom: Well, He was tough on them, but for good reason.
Dave: Right! He said, “You fools! Slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? Beginning at Moses, all of the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” So you’ve got all kinds of prophecies, but I mentioned, I think last week, that when I’m fixing my breakfast in the morning and my lunch at noon and there in the kitchen I’ve got that tape recorder going, someone reading from the New Testament, just going over and over. My wife, by the way, doesn’t like the guy’s voice (laughs) and his attitude, but anyway, I find it fine. I don’t care. All I am interested in is what he has to say. But I have been noticing how many times Jesus told His disciples He would be crucified and rise again the third day! And they didn’t get it! It’s incredible.
Tom: Well, they were thinking about themselves, they had their own ideas, their own plans, their own agendas, their own biases, their own….
Tom: They had in their minds what the people around them were saying and thinking and so on.
Dave: Well also, for example, on one occasion when Jesus—He has just told them He is going to be crucified and rise again the third day—and the next thing that happens is James and John are saying, “Well, Lord, we want to sit one on the right hand and the other on the left.” The night of His betrayal, when Jesus has just said, “One of you will betray Me,” there’s just a brief flurry of concern: “Oh! Is it I? Is it I?” They should have locked the door and not let anybody out until they found out who this disciple was and straightened him out. But anyway, the next thing they are doing, they are arguing who will be the greatest! So, the blindness, and Tom, I’m sure it’s in my heart, how blind am I? I was mentioning a couple of programs ago—here I am in my…I’ll be 78 in a few weeks, I know so little! I’ve been reading the Bible all my life, studying it on my knees, and what do I know? What do I understand and what do I comprehend? It’s just pitiful, the blindness of our hearts. Well, then, why did Jesus allow this? This is wrong for doubting Thomas to say, “I am not going to believe unless…” No, he’s got all the evidence, he’s seen the miracles, he’s been taught by Christ for three years, he should know the prophecies. But Christ is allowing this, I think—it’s part of what’s going on here, Tom. There’s a process going on here, and we get it in Acts 1, written by Luke, and Luke says, “After his passion, he showed himself alive to his disciples for 40 days by many infallible proofs.” So I think Jesus allowed that skepticism at this point because it became the basis for His offering further proofs.
Tom: Dave, you go back to what you just mentioned: the two on the road to Emmaus. Jesus does use strong language, but it’s so critical, it’s so important. How many times on our program have we talked about understanding, how important it is to get understanding. You quoted, what was it, Proverbs:4:7: “In all things, get understanding.” And rather than being tolerant, and I’m not saying Jesus wasn’t being kind, but He had to get their attention. I think the same thing here with Thomas.
Dave: Tom, some people will say, “Oh well, we’re intolerant.” No, that’s not what you mean. We believe in being tolerant, but I don’t think the police should be tolerant of crime, that doctors should be tolerant of disease, okay? So, tolerance has its place…
Tom: Yeah, where Jesus being tolerant of something that was going to lead them astray, lead them away from Him…
Dave: Right. Well, but, this is for a purpose. So we have additional proof. We have a doubter. We have a doubter who demanded evidence. And this would be one of those infallible proofs by which Christ proved Himself to be alive when He appeared to His disciples. Well, verse 26: “After eight days, again His disciples were within… [means a week later, actually], and Thomas with them. And then came Jesus, the doors being shut. …” You know, Tom, let me stop there for a moment, because we have a common teaching in the church today—I don’t know how popular it still is, but it has been very popular—inner healing, you want to get in touch with Jesus? visualize Jesus. You have a Richard Foster, for example and his book Celebration of Discipline, which sold—I don’t know how many copies, it was a bestseller, maybe it still is today, telling us you ought to really understand what Jesus was teaching, visualize Him. And it will be more than an exercise of imagination. He will really come to you, talk to you.
You had Calvin Miller in his book, The Table of Inwardness, a writer, author of many Christian books, very popular, saying what you really need to do is visualize Jesus. You can have Him come to you anytime you want! Even some people saying, “Yeah, just climb up on His lap and sit there, you know, and enjoy His presence.”
Well, the disciples didn’t do that. It’s eight days later before Jesus, in His own time and way, appears to them, and when we have His appearance in chapter 21 at the lake, it says this was now the third time that Jesus appeared to His disciples. So Christ came to them to reveal Himself. During this period of 40 days after His resurrection, it was a special time of visible, tangible proof that He gave for them and for them to pass on to us. But you don’t just call Jesus down from heaven, from the Father’s right hand, to come as your personal guru and talk with you anytime you want. There may be some people out there listening who have been deceived by that. I hope that you will be delivered from it, but Thomas couldn’t just say, “Jesus, I want to see You now.” He waited, and when Jesus in His own time and way came to him, then Jesus says—now the doors were shut, He walks right through the wall, the door, and He stood in the midst and said, “Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands. Reach in with thy hand, thrust it into My side, and be not faithless, but believing.”
Tom, this in itself tells us there is no blood in our Lord’s resurrected body, and there won’t be in ours, either. We will be like Him because otherwise He would be bleeding from five wounds. You can stick your hand in a hole in the side. That’s pretty big. Why wouldn’t it be? Because the life of the flesh is in the blood. And that life had to be poured out upon the cross. It’s the blood that makes an atonement for the soul. He is not perpetuating this body, but we will have a new body that lives in the power of an endless life, and that points out one of the fallacies of so much emphasis upon healing today. People are following these so-called healers and they’re telling you, “If you only had faith, you wouldn’t get sick.” Well, they get sick. Everyone who has taught that you should never get sick—well, then you wouldn’t die unless you were martyred—they’re all dead or dying. And this is, sadly, a fallacy—too much emphasis upon this life, upon this body, and not looking forward to the resurrected glorified body that the Lord is going to give us. Christ’s body, Tom, it’s a different body— it walks through walls. He now lives in the power of an endless life. There is a physical body and a spiritual body, and this is what we’re looking forward to having, this spiritual body. What it is? Wow. I don’t know, but it’s going to be marvelous.