Overcoming Unbelief – Mark 16:12-14; John 20:19-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
August 25, 2019

Overcoming Unbelief
Mark 16:12-14; John 20:19-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5

Introduction

Have you ever considered how hard it is to believe something that is outside your frame of reference? Something far beyond anything you have ever experienced? It was not uncommon for aboriginal people to be afraid the first time an explorer showed them a picture of themselves. Some even tried to destroy the picture and the person who took it for fear it had somehow captured their soul. They had no reference to comprehend what we take for granted – a photograph. The same is true when such people first saw an airplane. They had no reference to comprehend what it could be other than some sort of strange bird. They had no experience with engines or cars or even hearing a rumor about such a thing being built. For them, it was something thrust upon them suddenly.

All people are that way to some degree for everyone has an area they have never studied or experienced and are therefore ignorant in that subject. The variance is just in the particular things that are outside that individual’s frame of reference. The broader your range of knowledge, then the larger your frame of reference, but even then, there are some things you might be told that you will not believe because they do not match your own experiences or what you have been able to study. We accept new things only as we become educated about them and adapt our frame of reference to fit them in. If our frame of reference remains fixed, then we will not accept new things presented to us.

For example, when Buck Rogers was being shown for the first time in the movie theaters, very few would have believed then that man would ever travel in space and walk on the moon. Yet, from 1957 through 1969 the frame of reference about rockets and men in space continually changed so that when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon we found it believable. However, it should be noted that there are still some who do not believe it and insist it was all a hoax by our government. The idea of it is still outside what they are willing to believe and the evidence has not convinced them otherwise.

Over the last couple of weeks as we have looked at the gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, I have pointed out that it was a difficult truth for people to believe the evidence they saw or the reports they were given. What it took to believe varied from person to person, but God patiently revealed what was necessary to overcome the unbelief of each person that would believe.

The Roman soldiers were present at Jesus’ tomb when the severe earthquake occurred and the angel rolled the stone away from it. Their initial response was to become “as dead men.” The fright of it all caused even these tough men to faint. I think that at least one of them became a believer in Jesus Christ since we have the account of what occurred at the grave and in their report to the chief priests and their being paid to lie (Matthew 28:2-4; 11-15).

Mary Magdalene was the first of Jesus’ followers at the tomb that morning, but what she saw convinced her some group of people had stolen Jesus’ body. The stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty, and if the soldiers were still lying there unconscious, that was a reasonable explanation given that she did not take literally what Jesus had said while they were still in Galilee that He would be crucified and rise from the dead on the third day. She ran away to tell the disciples (John 20:1-2).

The other women, which included Salome, Joanna and Mary, the mother of James, arrived as either Mary was leaving or just after she left, but they had a different experience for though they were perplexed when they looked into the tomb and did not see Jesus body, two angels suddenly appeared and one of them explained that Jesus was not there for He had risen from the dead just as He said. That was enough for them to believe, and they also left quickly to tell the disciples (Mark 16:4-8; Luke 24:3-11)).

However, the first reaction by Jesus’ disciples to the eyewitness report by Mary and the other women was disbelief. Luke 24:10-11 describes that what they said appeared to the apostles “as nonsense, and they would not believe them.” The idea of Jesus being raised from the dead was unbelievable to them though they had seen Jesus raise Lazarus and others from the dead and He had previously told them several times that He would be raised from the dead. According to Mark 16:10 they were at that time mourning and weeping, so their own emotional state did not help in the matter. They did not understand it, so they simply discounted what the women reported as being nonsense or empty talk and so dismissed it as foolish chatter.

Men, a quick side note here for you. Yes, your wife may be more emotional than you, but don’t discount what she says. Women may talk about things you are not interested in and it just sounds like chatter to you – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah – (of course, what your interested in may sound the same way to them), but you must be careful about dismissing it as just empty talk. First, God has commanded you husbands to live with your wives “in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7). You have a God given responsibility to pay attention to her so that you might understand her and by that be a godly husband to her. Second, she might be telling you what you need to hear. I find it fascinating that Jesus first revealed Himself to the women who had come to the tomb that morning to care for His body. These are the same women who had been at the cross with Him. The disciples, except for John, had run away to hide during that time.

Peter and John at least had the curiosity to run to the tomb to see for themselves. John got there first, but Peter went into Jesus’ tomb first and then John followed. They both saw Jesus’ grave linens lying in the empty tomb with the face cloth rolled up by itself. That was enough evidence for John, and he believed (John 20:3-10), but Peter was just marveling at what had happened (Luke 24:12).

Mary Magdalene apparently did not believe the report of the other women either for she went back to the tomb distraught and still so fixated on finding Jesus’ body that she started talking to the two angels inside the tomb without recognizing they were angles. Then, when Jesus appeared to her, she did not recognize Him until He called her by name. She then did believe and obeyed the Lord’s command to go tell the disciples (John 20:11-18). However, the disciples refused to believe it (Mark 16:9-11).

The other women also encountered the resurrected Jesus (Matthew 28:9-10), and they took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Jesus told them to “go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” From what occurs later that evening, it does not appear they believed this report of seeing Jesus physically alive any more than they had believed their earlier report about seeing the angels and their message that Jesus was risen from the dead.

(See: The Resurrection of Jesus)

Cleopas and Simon had an encounter with Jesus later that afternoon. They were traveling to Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, when a stranger approached and began traveling with them. It was actually Jesus, 16 “But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” The stranger asked them why they were so sad and they told them about how they were hoping Jesus was going to redeem Israel, but He was crucified three days earlier. They also reported about the women telling them about seeing the empty tomb and angels who told them Jesus was risen, but they had not seen Him. The stranger chided them for being slow of heart to believe the prophets and then explained from Moses through the prophets how it was necessary for the Christ (Messiah) to suffer these things and to enter His glory. When they arrived at Emmaus, they got the stranger to stay with them, but when He gave thanks and broke the bread, their eyes were open and they recognized that it was Jesus, but then He vanished. They returned to Jerusalem that very hour to tell the others what they had just experienced. (Luke Luke 24:13–35). But Mark 16:13 tells us that “they did not believe them either.”  (See: On the Road to Emmaus)

All of us are like the disciples at times. We have enough information and experience to understand the step of faith God wants us to take next, but we let our emotions and human frame of reference block us. We decide our actions based on how we feel and what seems reasonable according to our experiences instead of on what God has already revealed to us about Himself and His desires for our life. God wants us to walk with Him by faith. That means we step forward to do His will by trusting His promises and character regardless of either our emotions or what seems logical by our experiences. What frightens us or seems impossible to us is very possible with God, and if He has declared it, then it is true. Take courage, God did not let the disciples remain in unbelief, and He will not allow you to remain stuck anywhere along the path of faith. He has many ways of moving you forward to the next level of trusting Him and living according to His will.

Revealing Himself to the DisciplesLuke 24:36-43; John 20:19-20

Turn to John 20:19, but keep a book mark at Luke 24:36. Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples. 19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first [day] of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Mark 16:14 adds that they were “reclining at the table.” We already know from Luke 24:33-35 that Cleopas and Simon had joined the disciples and several others have gathered together, and they were telling them about what they had experienced on the road to Emmaus. We are not told exactly where they are except somewhere in Jerusalem. Perhaps it was the Upper Room where they had held the Passover meal with Jesus since they are found there together again in Acts 1:13. John is pointed here that they have shut the door because they were afraid of the Jews. That fear was very understandable, for they had killed Jesus. What was to stop them from now killing Jesus’ followers?

Luke 24:36-40 continues the narrative, 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

Jesus’ sudden appearance in a locked room startled and frightened them and they thought they were seeing a spirit. Jesus sought to calm them saying “Peace be with you.” He then chided them for their lack of faith demonstrated in their being troubled and having doubting hearts. Then in a very practical demonstration they were not seeing a spirit, He invited them to examine His hands and feet and to touch Him and know that He was there physically in flesh and bone.

John 20:20 states, “The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” This was a state of joyous shock for Luke 24:41 states that “they still could not believe [it] for joy and were marveling.” I think you can understand the nature of what they were feeling if you think of some joyous time in your own life that was so far beyond expectation that it seemed like a dream. I recall the day that Diane and I got married. All the events were real, but it was such a joyous time that it seemed like I was dreaming it and I didn’t want anyone to wake me up. It is 32 years later, and perhaps I am still asleep, but if so, let me keep dreaming.

While they were still in this state, Luke points out that Jesus asked them, 41b “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate [it] before them.” This was another evidence that He was there physically, for a spirit does not eat physical food. This also gives some indication about the nature of a resurrection body.

We do not know all of what it shall be like when we receive our own glorified resurrection body in the future, but we know that we shall be like Jesus for as 1 John 3:2 states, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him , because we shall see Him just as He is.” Here are four characteristics of Jesus’ resurrection body.

1) The resurrection body is not limited by physical barriers. Jesus came into the room while the doors were shut. The word here can also mean “locked,” and it is translated that way in the ESV, Holman, Young’s and NET Bibles. Jesus just suddenly appeared in their midst.

2) The resurrection body has physical substance. Jesus specifically states in Luke 24:39 that He has flesh and bones and invites them to touch Him.

3) The resurrection body is able to consume food. Jesus asked for something to eat and then ate the fish they gave Him.

4) Jesus’ resurrection body has the scars from His crucifixion as evidence that it was really Him and not an imposter.

Now that their unbelief has been removed and they are rejoicing in the truth that Jesus was alive and with them again, He continues on to explain what they were to do and to equip them for the task.

Giving the Holy SpiritJohn 20:21-22

21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace [be] with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and ^said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus again calms them with a pronouncement of peace upon them and then tells them what they would be doing in the future. God the Father had sent God the Son, and now God the Son was sending His disciples. They were being sent in the same manner with the same message. The Son had declared the Father to the world. The disciples would now be the ones to declare God’s revelation of Himself.

Jesus lived and carried out His ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to them so that they would be able to live and minister in the same way. Jesus yielded Himself completely to God and spoke only what the Father wanted Him to speak (John 8:26-29). The disciples would be able to do the same through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in them. Remember that Jesus has told them in John 16:13-14 that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth and reveal the Father’s will to them. (13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose [it] to you.”)

In like manner of when God breathed on Adam and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7), Jesus breathes on these disciples and gives them the Holy Spirit. They are now equipped to be sent out as apostles. The word “apostle” means “one sent with authority.” They would have the authority to speak for God because they would be controlled by the Holy Spirit. This is emphasized in John 20:23.

Forgiving and Retaining SinsJohn 20:23

“If you forgive the sins of any, [their sins] have been forgiven them; if you retain the [sins] of any, they have been retained.”

This authority to either forgive or retain sins is not an arbitrary power that Jesus gives them. They do not have the freedom to make up their own lists of sins or strike down God’s lists of sins. This authority is directly tied into their receiving the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth so that they could truthfully declare whether a person’s sins have been forgiven by God or not. This is not the ability to grant absolution of sin that the Roman Catholic church claims for its priests, for their declarations are not based on anything God has said, but upon their own ecclesiastical rules. This is really the same thing as the “binding and losing” authority that Jesus gave them in Matthew 18. It is still active today in cases of church discipline that are carried out in harmony with the Scriptures. A person that repents from sin and strives to follow after God through faith in Jesus Christ can be forgiven their sins. A person that will not turn from their sin to the savior will bear their sins themselves.

The Remaining SkepticJohn 20:24-25

Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared to the rest of the apostles as a group the first time, and because of that, he remained skeptical, and somewhat stubbornly so. The Lord’s dealing with Him gives us some idea of how He still deals with skeptics today.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Thomas was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He was called “Didymus,” which means “twin,” as a nickname to distinguish him from other people named Thomas. He is often referred to as “doubting Thomas,” but if you think about it, he was not really any more doubting than the other disciples had been when they first heard the report by the women of Jesus’ resurrection. Thomas was a very devoted disciple of Jesus, but he was also given to despondency (John 11:16). The crucifixion of Jesus would have crushed him. He does not believe the other disciples. He then sets up the criteria which would need to be met for him to believe. He would have to see and touch the scars Jesus received when He was crucified.

That is the typical reaction of a skeptic. It is not necessarily bad to be skeptical, for one should be careful about believing what other people tell you. Even a normally credible witness can be deceived. However, the problem with the skeptic is that they end up basing truth in themselves. They disregard the judgment of everyone else. The proof must meet their personal standards. In this case, it was the ability to physically examine and judge for himself.

I have to admit that when I deal with a skeptic I have a tendency to either continue to argue with them in order to convince them that my witness is credible and they are wrong, or to give up on them and let them remain in their ignorance. There can also be some anger involved because of the personal affront of that comes when someone disregards your witness. They are in effect brushing you off as a simpleton who is either ignorant or has been deceived, or they are insinuating that you are a liar. That can provoke anger in us, but God is different from us. He is very gracious and knows just what needs to be done. In the case of Thomas, it was a direct confrontation.

Removing DoubtsJohn 20:26-29
Jesus AppearsJohn 20:26

“And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus ^came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace [be] with you.”

If the time measure used here is inclusive, this would be the next Sunday. The time of day and the place are not mentioned, but it could be the same place they had been the previous week. Again we find the doors are shut and possibly locked. Again we find that Jesus just suddenly appears in their midst. Again he calms them with His pronouncement of peace upon them. The only real difference this time is that Thomas is present, and Thomas is the one Jesus singles out.

Confronting With the TruthJohn 20:27

Then He ^said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.”

Jesus uses the command voice three times. He does not just present Himself for Thomas’ examination. He commands Thomas to examine Him. Each command is directly related to what Thomas demanded would have to happen for him to believe.

Thomas’ Demands                                              Jesus’ Command

Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails,

see My hands

and put my finger into the place of the nails,

Reach here your finger

and put my hand into His side,

and reach here your hand, and put it into My side;

I will not believe

and be not unbelieving, but believing

 

Thomas’ ConfessionJohn 20:28

The evidence is overwhelming, and so verse 28 states, Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

It is interesting that John does not tell us whether Thomas actually did put his fingers into the place where the nails had gone through Jesus’ hands or put his hand into the place where the spear had punctured Jesus’ side. Thomas just proclaims, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus response to Thomas’ proclamation in John 20:29 should be carefully noted. Jesus ^said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Jesus accepts what Thomas proclaims about Him. There is no rebuke of any kind. Instead, there is a rhetorical question giving affirmation that Thomas finally believes and that those who believe without seeing Him are blessed. If Jesus was not exactly who Thomas was now proclaiming Him to be, then it would be blasphemy. But Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is God. Those who deny Jesus’ deity must come to grip with this fact that Jesus accepts the worship of people, and such worship belongs only to God. If a person is going to deny Jesus’ deity, then to be consistent, they must also proclaim Him a delusional blasphemer, and a delusional blasphemer is not someone you should seek to emulate. But such people are not consistent for they want to believe what makes them comfortable and not the truth.

Jesus is God and man. He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. He kept His promises. He will keep His promises in the future. That is a blessing to those who believe, and a terror to those that do not.

The Nature of BeliefJohn 20:29

What Jesus says here in verse 29 gives us some insights into the skeptic.

The Skeptic’s Belief, as I pointed out earlier, is based in himself. He or she becomes the final judge of everything according to his or her own narrow frame of reference. There is some benefit to this in that all of us are responsible for and will bear the consequences of the decisions that we make. We cannot blame someone else. The truth is out there. If we remain ignorant of it, then it really is our own fault for not seeking the truth with enough diligence. There is a proper and healthy amount of skepticism that should be in all of us. The problem with the skeptic is that they are cynical of the judgments, conclusions and even the eye-witness accounts of other people. They judge based on their own experiences and assumptions. Such was the case with Thomas when told about Jesus’ resurrection.

Skeptics can be brought to the knowledge of the truth when they are overwhelmed with the evidence. That is what Jesus graciously did to Thomas. God still does that for the skeptic that is genuinely searching for the truth. There are many testimonies of scientists, like Dr. Roy Spencer, who was a senior scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL who was trained as a modern scientist to believe naturalism and that everything came into existence by chance. Eventually that belief crumbled as he, like so many other scientists, studied the actual evidence, and he was forced to a different conclusion. As he states, “the theory of creation had a better scientific basis than the theory of evolution.”

Another way in which skeptics are brought to the truth is when they are forced into a position where they realize their assumptions have been wrong. That happened to Dr. David Chadwick, a research chemist, who had also been trained that there was not a God who is good and able to overcome evil. He found himself in a desperate situation in which he says that suddenly, “I found myself praying to this Person I did not know, crying out to Him to save and help me!” In the years that followed, God brought Dr. Chadwick to a point of conviction of his sinfulness, and then to an understanding of what Jesus Christ has done for him so that he could be forgiven those sins and live in righteousness.

You don’t have to fight with a skeptic. Simply present the truth and let our Lord work. God is gracious and merciful to the skeptic that is truly searching for the truth. He may overwhelm them with evidence they cannot deny as was the case with Dr. Spencer. He might intervene in ways that destroy the previous held assumptions of the skeptic as in the case of Dr. Chadwick.

The Believer’s Faith – Thomas had to see to believe. Jesus said, “Blessed [are] they who did not see, and [yet] believed.” Life is a lot easier, and spiritual growth is a lot quicker, for those that will accept the testimony of credible witnesses. Thomas should have believed when the other disciples told him they had seen Jesus alive. The other disciples should have believed with the women told them they had seen Jesus alive. We should believe because the Bible is the record of God’s revelation of Himself and His work through credible witnesses. Jesus Christ is alive. He is the Lord. He is God.

The Purpose of John’s GospelJohn 20:30-31

The whole reason that John wrote this account of the gospel is so that you would believe. He states in verses 30-31, “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

The “signs” mentioned in verse 30 are the miracles Jesus performed that testified to the fact that He is the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, who would redeem them from their sins. An examination of Matthew, Mark and Luke reveals many of these miracles that John did not record. This would include healing the demoniac in Capernaum – Mark 1; Healing Peter’s mother-in-law – Matthew 8; Cleansing the leper in Galilee – Luke 5; Healing the paralytic – Mark 2; Healing the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath – Matthew 12; Raising the widow’s son from the dead at Nain – Luke 7; Healing the Gerasene demoniac – Mark 5; Raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead – Matthew 9; etc. We have examined all of these over the nearly seven years we have been studying the life of Christ. I am sure there were many other miracles not listed in any of the gospel accounts because there are many occasions the text simply say Jesus was “healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (Matthew 9:35).

John’s account does supplement the other three gospel accounts with more of what Jesus did and taught, but none of them individually or taken all together as we have done in our study of the Life of Christ were done to create a comprehensive accounting of everything Jesus taught or all of His miracles. Their purpose was to present enough evidence so that the readers of their accounts could understand and believe the good news that God offers redemption and forgiveness of sin to mankind through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. John states this directly in verse 31. “but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

That now puts the question before you. What do you believe about Jesus? Matthew, Luke, Mark and John have all presented the evidence. Jesus Christ is God. He left the glories of heaven and took on human flesh. He lived a sinless life, and then willingly gave His life as the sacrifice for our sin that we might be forgiven our sin and be made righteous in Him. He rose from the dead proving His claims about Himself and that His promises are true. Jesus Christ is alive today and will return in the future. Do you believe it?

There is a great blessing in believing the witness given for you will have life in Jesus Christ. But if you are a skeptic and still are hesitant to believe, then I pray that you are an honest skeptic who is truly seeking the truth, for if you are, then I know that God will continue to work in your life to bring you to faith in Him. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. If you are really seeking the truth, your search can only lead you to Him.

If you are a skeptic who is not really seeking the truth, then you are heading for eternal disaster. You might eventually find something that makes you comfortable and be satisfied with that, but there will come a day when you will have to stand before God and give an account of yourself. There will be no excuse for your disbelief then. The truth that God has revealed to us and that has been presented to you will be the evidence that condemns you. God is merciful and gracious as is proven in the forgiveness of your sins that is offered through faith in Jesus Christ, but God is also holy and just, and there will be no escaping His wrath on those disobey Him.

One final point. This “life in His name” that John speaks of here is not just eternal life in heaven. Certainly that is the future promise of this life, but it is also life in the here and now. It is a quality of life, not just a quantity. It is a life in the present in which the power of sin is broken and you become increasingly conformed the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). Your life becomes more practically righteous, more fulfilling, more joyful, more peaceful.

If you are a Christian, do not let the things of this world pull you down or lead you astray. Live in the daily reality that Jesus is alive and with you. You can trust His promises, because you can trust Him.

What do you believe about Jesus Christ?

Sermon Notes – August 25, 2019
Overcoming Unbelief
Mark 16:12-14; John 20:19-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5

Introduction

We accept new things as we become educated about them and ________our frame of reference to fit them in

It was ____________to believe the evidence they saw or the reports they were given that Jesus had risen

Mary Magdalene viewed the evidence and concluded Jesus’ body had been _______________

The other women were ______________until an angel announced to them Jesus was risen from the dead

The disciples _________ believe the reports from the women – though Peter and John ran to the tomb to see

Pay attention to your ____: 1) You need to understand her. 2) She may be telling you what you need to hear

Peter and John saw Jesus’ empty tomb and the grave clothes – John ____________ and Peter marveled

Mary Magdalene ________________ believe until she saw Jesus herself

The other women also met Jesus alive, but the disciples still _____________believe them or Mary’s reports

Cleopas & Simon had the Scriptures concerning Messiah ___________to them later that afternoon by Jesus

After Jesus revealed Himself to them, they returned to Jerusalem, but the other disciples still ______believe

We often let our emotions and human frame of reference block us from ____________what God has said

God will not allow us to remain ____along the path of faith. He is patient & has ways of moving us forward

Revealing Himself to the DisciplesLuke 24:36-43; John 20:19-20

They meet, possibly in the Upper Room, with the door shut (locked) for _________ of the Jews

Luke 24:36-40 – Jesus’ miraculous sudden appearance in a closed room startled and ___________them

Jesus chided them for their doubting hearts and then demonstrated He was ____________ present

The disciples were in a state of joyous _________marveling at what they were experiencing

Luke 24:41-42 – Jesus ____________further demonstrating that He was physically present

Our future glorified bodies will be like that of Jesus – 1 John 4:2

The resurrection body is: 1) Not limited by ______________barriers. 2) Has ____________substance. 3) Is able to consume __________. 4) Jesus’ body has the scars from His crucifixion

Giving the Holy SpiritJohn 20:21-22

Jesus pronounces peace upon them and then ___________as the Father had sent Him, He was sending them

Jesus imparted to them the _______________so that they could live and minister in the same way as Him

The Holy Spirit enabled them to be “_____________” – those sent with Jesus’ authority

Forgiving and Retaining SinsJohn 20:23

This authority was not arbitrary, but directly tied to having received the Holy Spirit to be _____________

This is not the ability to grant absolution as in the R.C.C., but the same as in ___________ to “bind & lose”

The Remaining SkepticJohn 20:24-25

Thomas / Didymus (twin) was no more doubting than the others had been and he remained ____________

Some skepticism is good, but is a problem when truth is determined by __________standards and judgments

A skeptic can be provoking, but God is ____________& gracious and knows how to convince a skeptic

Removing DoubtsJohn 20:26-29

Jesus Appears – Eight days later, ____________is present with Jesus appears to all the disciples again

Confronting With the TruthJohn 20:27

Thomas’ Demands                                              Jesus’ Command

Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails,

see My hands

and put my finger into the place of the nails,

Reach here your finger

and put my hand into His side,

and reach here your hand, and put it into My side;

I will not believe

and be not unbelieving, but believing

Thomas’ ConfessionJohn 20:28

We are not told if Thomas physically touched Jesus. He just exclaims, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus does not rebuke Thomas, but accepts His ___________, and blesses those who believe without seeing

The Nature of BeliefJohn 20:29

The Skeptic’s Belief is based in ____________ and own knowledge as the final judge

Skeptics can be brought to the knowledge of the truth when they are overwhelmed with the _____________

Skeptics can be brought to the truth when they are forced into realizing their ____________have been wrong

You don’t have to fight with a skeptic – Simply present the __________ and let the Lord work

The Believer’s Faith: Life is easier & spiritual growth faster when credible witnesses are ___________

The Purpose of John’s GospelJohn 20:30-31

The “signs” refer to the miracles Jesus performed that testified to the fact that He is the _________

Neither John’s account nor all the gospels together are an exhaustive account of ____that Jesus did & taught

The Gospels given enough evidence to ________Jesus’ claims and promises are true – What do you believe?

There is great blessing in believing the witness of Scripture, but if you are skeptical, then honestly seek ____

If you are skeptic who refuses to seek truth, take _____________you are headed for eternal disaster

“Life in His name” concerns eternity and a ____________ life of peace, joy, righteousness and fulfillment

Don’t let the world get you down, live in trust of the promises of Jesus for He is _________!

KIDS KORNER – Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “belief” is mentioned 2) Talk with your parents about what you believe about Jesus.

THINK ABOUT IT! – Questions to consider in understanding the sermon and its application. What events had already taken place on that day before Jesus appeared to His disciples in John 20:19? Why did the disciples have the door shut? Why didn’t they the disciples believe Jesus had been raised from the dead prior to His appearance to them? How did Jesus get into the room with the disciples? How did Jesus prove to the disciples that He physically present? What does this tell us about the resurrection body? What was their response? Why did Jesus impart the Holy Spirit to them? What does it mean that the disciples can forgive and retain sins? What application does this have today? Why was Thomas still skeptical? What is skepticism? When it is good and when it is wrong? Contrast Thomas’ demands with Jesus’ commands to him. What was Thomas’ response? How does that demonstrate Jesus’ deity? What is the blessing of believing without seeing? What are some of the evidences that can be used to convince sincere skeptics of the truth? What do you believe about Jesus? Why? Could your mind be changed? Why or why not?


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