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Loving enough to bend

John 20:29-

“Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

  In this passage, Jesus rebukes Thomas because it took him seeing and touching the hands of Jesus after the Lord was resurrected in order for him to believe that Jesus was resurrected.  I have heard preachers use this verse in order to justify why they have not had visions and dreams from the Lord. As well as those who have used it to claim their blessings for never having seen God manifest in terms of healings, exorcisms, raising the dead, etc. However, I present to you a different application of this manifold verse. 

    First, earlier in the chapter, in verses 19 through 21, Jesus came to the disciples and showed them His hands and His sides {where there were scars}. Thomas was absent at this encounter with the Lord and when he returned, the disciples told him all about the Lord. Then Thomas said something very interesting in verse 25 when he said that unless he put his own finger in the print of the nails and his hand into His side, he would not believe. With this statement, Thomas was making a stand with his own will against God. It wasn’t an arbitrary choice based on insufficient knowledge or understanding, it was an act of his will. That is not the main point I would like to offer, however. What I propose is something a little deeper but just as powerful.

    Observe the heart condition of Thomas. In essence what he said to the disciples who had already seen Jesus was that if he did not receive the same treatment as they had received then he would not believe what Jesus said. This was a choice that Thomas was making to walk away from the time he spent with Jesus and count it as wasted time in reality. What is absolutely astounding in this passage is God’s reaction to Thomas’ stubborn heart. God did not leave Thomas to his own devices or thoughts. Instead God showed up when Thomas was present and submitted  the revelation that Jesus is who He said He is to the will of a doubting disciple. Think about that...God loved Thomas so much that even when he stubbornly refused to believe what the witnesses told him about Jesus that God sent Jesus right back into that room to do exactly what Thomas said he needed for belief. Of course we know that Jesus rebuked Thomas for his doubt as averred in our study verse, but that does not alter the fact that God loved Thomas enough to submit Himself to Thomas’ prescribed scrutiny. 

    The application of Thomas’ heart condition to our own lives is this: if we are not careful, we will dictate to the Lord exactly what we will and will not believe of Him and thus, we cheat ourselves out of blessings!! It is interesting that most people do not recognize how loving God really is and how much of our interactions with Him are based on the words that comet of our own mouths. It is written that death and life are in the power of the tongue. This is a commonly used verse but not a commonly believed verse. Furthermore, in Isaiah 45:11, God directs; “…concerning the work of My hands, you command me.” We must understand that we have been given authority on earth by God through our relationship with God and when we speak, no matter what we speak, the words come to pass, even if those words blatantly oppose God’s will for our lives! God wanted Thomas to have been blessed for believing and not having seen but Thomas’ stubborn heart restricted him from this blessing which was the will of God! Remember that James 3:17 states that wisdom from above is willing to yield!

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