TEXT: John 20:24-31
SETTING THE SCENE …
TIME: 30 AD. 2 weeks after the resurrection.
PLACE: Galilee. Inside. Locked doors.
PERSONNEL: Jesus. ‘The 12’. Thomas. You?
20:26 – 1 week after resurrection in Galilee (Festival of Unleavened Bread was over).
Thomas appears more often in John than any other (11:16; 14:5; 20:24-29; 21:21).
WHO IS JESUS?
John is rooted in OT Judaism with his titles for Jesus:
The King of Israel (1:49),
Son of God (1:34, 49),
Son of Man (1:51),
the Holy One of God,
the Lamb of God (1:29, 36),
the Light of the World,
the True Vine,
the Good Shepherd,
the ego eimi,
and even Theos (1:1, 18, 20:28, 1 John 5:20)
kyrios and theos = Yahweh and Elohim - O Yahweh our God - John 20:28
ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου.
astonished exclamation? Taking God’s name in vain? but it says ANSWERED HIM (Jesus)
In the 90’s ‘Dominus et Deus noster’ was used towards Emperor Domitian – it means ‘Our Lord and God’ (per Suetonius: letters had to begin with ‘our lord and god commands so and so’ it became a rule that no one should call him otherwise in writing or speaking)
John’s Purpose statement - Jesus Identity (Christ, the Son of God)
20:30 - Selected Signs (John 2:11) - 7 Messianic Signs in john
-- water/wine 2:3-11
– long distance healing via word (4:46-54)
– healing cripple (5:2-9)
– feeding multitude (6:5-14)
– water walking (6:15-21)
– healing blindness (9:1-7)
– Lazarus (11:3-44)
“Though the biblical writers sometimes view the one saving work of God from various angles and for differing purposes, what they tell us is reliable and adequate. … John openly comments on the radical selectivity that underlies the fourth Gospel … The Bible does not aim to present a complete chronology of events, whether it deals with creation narrative or with salvation history, including incarnation history. But the stated purpose of the biblical writings is to give man all that is necessary and sufficient for his redemptive rescue and obedient service of his Maker.” - Carl Henry, “The Authority and Inspiration of the Bible”.
Psalm 22:16 fulfilled Psalm 22:16–18
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
‘THE SON OF GOD’ - Son of god in john – 1:49, 3:18, 5:25, 10:36, 11:4, 11:27, 20:31
WHAT HIS DISCIPLES RECEIVE?
LIFE- 20.31 not just his name but all that he is. Believing Jesus - Gift of Eternal Life. abundant life
John 5:21, 24-29
Knowing the Father through the Son and enabled by the Spirit
- 17:2-3, 15:26, 16:13-15 cf 1 john 1:3, 4.13
Privilege- 1:12, 15:1-11
task – 20:21-22 and 17:18 for this goal 14:13
WHAT ABOUT DOUBT?
7 mentions of believing - 6 believeings - 1 unbelieving…
Doubt – uncertainty or significant unanswered questions about God and our relationship to him
Abraham, david, jeremiah, Elijah, john all experienced doubt. Factual doubts about core beliefs – emotional doubt (am I saved? Why is this happening? Etc). moral or willful doubts
20:25 - john 14:26 - phantasma=spirit apparition - Delusional? Wishful thinking:
- ‘was not with them’ - V24 - he withdrew.
- ‘disciples told him’ - V25a - friends helped.
- ‘I will never believe’ - V25b - his conditions.
- ‘peace be with you’ - v26 - grants true rest.
- ‘put out your hand’ - V27b - must exert effort, draw close.
- ‘do not disbelieve’ - v27c - a command!
- ‘blessed are those’ - V29 - evidence but not sight.
- ‘in the presence of’ - v30 - eyewitness testimony.
- ‘these are written’ - V31a - accurate record, must read it!
- ‘you may have life’ - V31b - the promise is great!
apistos vs. pistos adjectives not verbs. Believe is to put one’s trust in to exercise faith in
Injunction ‘be not faithless’ implies there is no real faith in him except in him as the risen lord
Distant group inclusions 4:42, 17:20-23 - 2 Cor. 5:7 - Cf jn 20:31 , 1:7 and luke 10.23, matt 13.16
“We know that nothing was further from Christ’s intention than to subject faith to the inventions of men … If we must believe without reserve all that we do not see, then every monster which men may be pleased to form, every fable which they may contrive, will hold our faith in bondage.” - Calvin’s Commentary on John 20:29 and “we must first prove from the word of God the very point in question.”
ROM 10:17 faith by hearing
“It is the testimony of those who did see and believed that enables those who have not seen also to believe, and it is the Gospel that mediates the testimony of those who have seen to and those who have not.” – Richard Bauckham, The Gospel of John and Christian Theology
Signs. See John 2:11 - Purpose of witness. See 19:35
Me ginou apistos alla pistos
‘do not be unbelieving but believing’ or ‘do not be an unbeliever but a believer’
All believers are a strange mixture of doubt and faith! So are all churches!
1 Peter 1:8–9
“But observe, Christ did not appear to Thomas, for his satisfaction, till he found him in society with the rest of his disciples, because he would countenance the meetings of Christians and ministers, for there will he be in the midst of them.” -M. Henry
“Christ is pleased here to accommodate himself even to Thomas’s fancy in a needless thing, rather than break with him, and leave him in his unbelief. He will not break the bruised reed, but, as a good shepherd, gathers that which was driven away, Eze. 34:16. We ought thus to bear the infirmities of the weak, Rom. 15:1, 2” -M. Henry
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