The Rev. John Barnette

The Rev. John Barnette

John 20:24-29 — "But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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. 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.' 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.' Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!' 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."

Have you ever experienced doubt? If you answer “no,” well … I’m skeptical. Doubt and skepticism are part of human nature, especially when what we hear or see seems beyond belief. No one wants to be made a fool of or come across as gullible. Therefore, we throw up the guard of doubt and mistrust and demand proof.

When it comes to our faith, we are not different. We live in a world that is constantly challenging our faith. I am sure that each of you has had a time or two in your life, maybe even lately, that you’ve questioned your faith.

“What is it that I actually believe?”

“If God is real, why do bad things happen?”

“If God is real, why doesn’t he just make himself known is a big way?”

“If you are real, God, show me!”


Sound familiar? Yeah. For me, too.

Jesus’ disciple Thomas has always gotten an undeserved bum rap because of his doubt regarding his friends’ talk about Jesus being raised from the dead. Instead of breaking out in songs of praise and joy, he basically says, “prove it.”

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the ark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe,” he responded. For Thomas, the proclamation that Christ had risen wasn’t enough. He had to see it for himself.

But here’s the thing. Even though Thomas had his doubts, he didn’t cut and run. Scripture tells us that he was in the room with his friends a week later. He showed up, with his doubts and all, and waited on the Lord.

And Jesus delivered. He appeared before the disciples once again and allowed Thomas to touch his wounds. “My Lord and my God!” He proclaimed in response.

We doubt. At times, our faith gets a little shaky as we try to see Jesus moving around us. When doubt comes, remember Jesus did not reprimand Thomas for his doubt. He showed up for Thomas simply because Thomas kept coming back to that room where Jesus had appeared, despite his skepticism.

Thomas reminds us that sometimes it is in our times of doubt, when we are struggling to understand, that Jesus shows up and shows out, moving in new ways that help us to see his presence in our lives. All we must do is simply be willing to show up, too. Amen.

The Rev. John Barnette is the new pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Port Charlotte. He can be reached at johndbarnette1@gmail.com. To submit a Sermon of the Week, email newstips@yoursun.com.

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