Daily Worship

Doubting the Gold

Jock Stein April 18, 2023 2 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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John 20: 19-31 (NRSVA)

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ 28 Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

The Purpose of This Book

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

When I was in my teens, Jesus Christ showed himself to me in such a way that (to my complete amazement) I was filled with the Spirit and have never doubted since. But many who are more faithful disciples than I am are not given such an experience, and will identify with Thomas more easily than I do. If you are like that, I pray you may meet the risen Lord in some way, as Thomas did. But it is still possible to end up like Thomas in verse 25, with others saying to you, ‘We have seen the Lord.’

The good news is that you don’t have to jump up and down in your doubts like Thomas. You can simply recognise that all of us rely to some extent on the testimony of other people, for many things. Doubt yourself, by all means. But hold on to ‘the means of grace, and the hope of glory’ which are God’s gift to us all. To some extent, the certainty of our faith is a factor of our personalities – but to be a Christian is to know that Jesus stands for us before God in his humanity, which is our humanity. Our faith depends not on the flaky gold of our psyche, but the solid gold of God’s eternal word to us in Jesus Christ his Son our Saviour.


Here are the first and last verses of an old hymn ‘O Jesus I have promised’, to pray for yourself, and for anyone you know who may be struggling with doubt at the moment:

“O Jesus, I have promised
  To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
  My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
  If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
  If Thou wilt be my Guide.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised
  To all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory
  There shall Thy servant be;
And Jesus, I have promised
  To serve Thee to the end;
Oh, give me grace to follow,
  My Master and my Friend”