NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 74
J ohn 2 0
Jesus Appears to His Disciples (244/Luke 24:35-43)
19That Sunday evening* the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they
were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, J esus was standing there among them! “Peace
be with you,” he said. 20As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his
side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21Again he said, “Peace be with
you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22Then he breathed on them and
said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do
not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
20:19 Greek In the evening of that day, the first day of the week.
THOMAS, SO OFTEN remembered as “Doubting
Thomas,” deserves to be respected for his faith. He
was a doubter, but his doubts had a purpose—he
wanted to know the truth. Thomas did not idolize his
doubts; he gladly believed when he was given reasons to do so. He expressed his doubts fully
and had them answered completely. Doubting was only his way of responding, not his way of life.
Although our glimpses of Thomas are brief, his character comes through with consistency. He
struggled to be faithful to what he knew, despite what he felt. At one point, when everyone could
see that Jesus’ life was in danger, only Thomas put into words what most were feeling, “Let’s go,
too—and die with Jesus” (John 11:16). He didn’t hesitate to follow Jesus.
We don’t know why Thomas was absent the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples after
the Resurrection, but he was reluctant to believe their witness that Jesus was alive. Not even ten
friends could change his mind!
We can doubt without having to live a doubting way of life. Doubt encourages rethinking. Its
purpose is more to sharpen the mind than to change it. Doubt can be used to pose a question,
get an answer, or push for a decision. But doubt was never meant to be a permanent condition.
Doubt is one foot lifted, poised to step forward or backward. There is no motion until the foot
When you experience doubt, take encouragement from Thomas. He didn’t stay in his doubt
but allowed Jesus to bring him to belief. Take encouragement also from the fact that countless
other followers of Christ have struggled with doubts. The answers God gave them may help you,
too. Don’t settle into doubts; move on from them to decision and belief. Find another believer
you can share your doubts with. Silent doubts rarely find answers.
Thomas (Jesus’ Disciple)
• Intense both in doubt and belief
• A loyal and honest man
• Abandoned Jesus at his arrest along with the other disciples
• Refused to believe the others’ claims to have seen the risen Jesus and demanded proof
• Struggled with a pessimistic outlook
• One of Jesus’ original 12 disciples
• Jesus does not reject doubts that are honest and directed toward belief.
• To doubt out loud is better than to disbelieve in silence.
• Where: Galilee, Judea, Samaria
• Occupation: Disciple
• Contemporaries: Jesus, Herod Antipas, Pilate, the other disciples
“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand
into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my
God!’ Thomas exclaimed.” (John 20:27-28)
Thomas’s story is told in the Gospels, especially in John 11:1-16; 14:1-7; 20:24-31. He is also listed with the other disciples in
Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13.
20:22 The breath of God has life. The first man was created but did not
come alive until God breathed into him the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).
God’s first breath made humans different from all other forms of creation.
Now, through the breath of Jesus, God imparted eternal, spiritual life. With
this inbreathing came the power to do God’s will on earth.
20:23 Jesus was giving the disciples their Spirit-powered and Spirit-
ission—to preach the Good News so people’s sins might be
forgiven. The disciples did not have the power to forgive sins (only God
can do that), but Jesus gave them the privilege of telling new believers
that their sins have been forgiven because they have accepted Jesus’
message (see the note on Matthew 16:19). All believers have this same
privilege. We can announce forgiveness of sins with certainty when we
ourselves have come to repentance and faith.