DevotionalUncategorized

Transparent Faith

Have you ever been given a nickname that just stuck with you? A meeting with Jesus after his resurrection left Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, with a nickname that many of us can call to mind without hesitation: doubting Thomas. But is doubt really what Thomas should be known for? Having witnessed Jesus’ death with his own eyes, it’s no wonder that Thomas had a hard time just believing the news of Jesus’ resurrection. He was crushed to see his teacher and messiah seemingly defeated. That was his reality. If we can see the world through Thomas eyes, we can empathize then with transparency of his reaction to the news that Jesus was alive: “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” (John 20:25).

Jesus obliged, showing up and opening his hands to allow Thomas the experience he needed to trust that Jesus really had overcome death. Take a moment to notice the compassion of Jesus, who didn’t write Thomas off for his transparency. He met Thomas where he was: but he didn’t leave him there. Thomas gets the assurance he needed to believe what seemed unbelievable. This is good news for us who tuck our doubts away out of sight, fearing that God or our community would be disappointed in us if they knew. Jesus embraced transparency, wearing his scars out in the open, and responded to Thomas’ transparency with mercy and kindness. Still, Jesus has a challenge for us. He ends the story by pronouncing blessing on those who choose to live their lives faithfully in the way of Jesus even when they have not seen him.

Read John 20:24-29

Discussion Questions

  1. What would it look like for you to be transparent about your doubt with others? How would you expect people to respond? How would you expect God to respond?
  2. Reflect on Jesus meeting with Thomas. Describe a time you encountered Jesus and felt confidence in the truth of who Jesus is. What was the specific way Jesus assured you that he can be trusted with our lives?
  3. At the end of the story, Jesus blesses those who “have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29). Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-7. What are ways we can develop the habit of “living by faith and not by sight?” How do you think this would impact the way we live?

Reflection

When Thomas encounters the risen Jesus, he responds not by simply acknowledging the truth but by worshiping Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” Reflect on a typical day. What would it look like to worship Jesus as part of your day-to-day life?

Speak out loud and keep in mind

For centuries, Christians have repeated a “creed” summarizing the good news of Jesus and the truth of who God is and what he has done. Memorize these words and recite them each week:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
And born of the virgin Mary
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
On the third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church, (*here catholic means “universal”)
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

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