Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Easter – One Among Many
PDF file for printing 04-01-2018
- Share with your group about an Easter tradition that was part of your growing-up years.
- See if you can say Philippians 3:10-11 from memory: “I want to know Christ– yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
3. Read John 20:24-29:
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What questions or ideas come to your mind as you read this passage?
- Just for fun, see how many of the 12 disciples your group can name together.
- We looked at several passages that give us insight into the disciple named Thomas. Although his name only appears 11 times in the Bible, he helps us understand the significance of Easter. For many of us today, Thomas has a reputation of being one who doubted. Describe a time in your life when you experienced some doubt about the Christian faith.
- The first passage about Thomas that we looked at took place near the end of Jesus’ time on earth. Jesus had decided to go back to the area near Jerusalem, although it was well known that the Jewish leaders there wanted to kill Him. Read John 11:16: “Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”” What does this passage communicate about Thomas?
- The next story about Thomas took place when Jesus was celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples on the night before His crucifixion. Jesus told them that one of His disciples would betray Him. He said He was going away soon, and that they all knew where He was going. Thomas responded in John 14:5: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?””
This passage shows us that Thomas was inquisitive, and this is a good thing. Why is it good to be inquisitive when it comes to the Christian faith?
- What questions do you have about the Christian faith? List out your questions as a group, and then plan a time when you could research the answers to these questions and help each other grow in your understanding.
- The third story about Thomas took place after Jesus had risen. Jesus had appeared to His followers, but Thomas wasn’t there at the time. Read John 20:25: “So the other disciples told him (Thomas), “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.””
What does this tell you about Thomas?
- A week later, when Thomas was with the disciples, Jesus appeared again. And Jesus offered Thomas the opportunity to do exactly what Thomas had said he would need to believe. What does this tell you about Jesus?
- Thomas’s response to this experience with Jesus is recorded in John 20:28 “Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
Note that Thomas was willing and open to adjust his view of Jesus, when he received better evidence. Talk together as a group about the evidence we have for Jesus being God.
- Read John 20:29 “Then Jesus told him (Thomas), “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” What was Jesus communicating about faith here?
- As a result of this experience, Thomas had a purpose to live for. Talk about what Thomas did with the rest of his life after this, based on what we know about him from history.
- Thomas also had a people to live with. How is it helpful for our faith when we are part of a community of fellow believers?
- Thomas also had a power to live on. What is our power source to live out the Christian life, and how do we connect with it?
- Thomas had a promise to live into – the promise of life after death. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” What did Paul mean by that? Do you agree?
- Name one thing you could adjust in your life in order to connect more with God’s purpose, people, power and promise for your life.