Watch the 15 minute ‘Don’t call him “Doubting Thomas”‘ sermon here! Sermon notes are below on this page.
Note: You can watch the entire service and follow along in with a bulletin at the bottom of this page.
Short Sermon Summary
Here is the sermon, ‘Don’t call him “Doubting Thomas”‘ which talks about how even Jesus’ closest friends were scared after his death, and couldn’t believe reports of his resurrection from Mary Magdalene. It shows that doubt is normal, but God did give them proof so they could believe and be witnesses for us, so we can take action like Thomas did. Thomas reportedly started a ministry in India that claims to still be around today.
Richard Nixon’s hatchet man, Charles Colson, came to faith in prison when he realized that the 12 disciples kept proclaiming the risen Jesus for 40 years, never recanting, and at Watergate, 12 of the most educated, experienced, powerful men of the world, couldn’t keep a lie that would have gotten them acquitted for even 3 weeks.
What will you do right now during COVID-19?
Will you share with anyone who will listen that it’s a 5G or vaccination conspiracy theory, or will you take action, without the proof that COVID-19 is real by being sick yourself, but believing in the witness of others that it is, like so many other church members who are running errands for the elderly, delivering food to the shut in, sewing masks for a local hospital, or calling people who are staying at home letting them know you are thinking about them? God calls us to action to do good things. Let’s do them.
‘Don’t Call Him ‘Doubting Thomas”‘ Sermon Notes
After Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples went into hiding, afraid of being killed by the Jewish leaders that had sentenced Jesus to death. Sure, Mary Magdalene said she had seen Jesus alive 3 days after his death, but she wasn’t taken seriously. It sounded ridiculous.
Despite telling his disciples that he would rise again, they didn’t believe the reports of his resurrection and were scared. How would you feel if you were Jesus, and your closest friends and followers didn’t believe you’d follow through and rise from the dead?
Jewish leaders taught that even if there was a reanimated body, it would be without a soul.
If you were going to make up a story in this culture, you wouldn’t have a woman, much less a former prostitute, Mary Magdalene, be your primary witness. You wouldn’t have a reanimated body, as the Roman-Greco culture believed bodies were shells, but that the spirits lived on already, so transferring into another body would be more believable. Having someone say a dead body rose again would sound like it was coming from someone who daily wore a tin foil hat to prevent alien mind reading in today’s culture. The message was ludicrous in a 1st century world.
Paul says 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus and couldn’t stop talking about it.
Richard Nixon’s hatchet man, Charles Colson, was indicted in the Watergate scandal. While in prison, he said that imprisonment proved the resurrection. He said 12 men claimed Jesus had risen from the dead, and then proclaimed that truth for 40 years and almost all of them were tortured, stoned, beaten, and were killed because of what they were proclaiming. They would not have endured all of that if it were not true. (Even today, how many people would endure that much suffering for a truth?)
Watergate involved 12 of the most powerful men in the world, not simple fishermen, tax collectors, or tent makers, and these well educated men couldn’t keep a lie for 3 weeks. How could 12 apostles keep a lie for 40 years if it wasn’t true?
If it were a conspiracy theory, it would have been debunked. These things were written so that you may believe, like Thomas, that Jesus is the son of God. Thomas didn’t believe with just words. Sure. He asked to touch the holes and side wound, and when he did, he was so inspired, that there are churches in India that said they are descendants of the churches Thomas founded when he traveled there proclaiming the news, and he was killed for his preaching there.
What are we doing during this time of disease? Even if we haven’t seen it with our own eyes, we know it’s going on, right? Well, even today and even with videos and photos of crowded hospitals, there are still conspiracy theorists right now saying COVID-19 isn’t occurring and that it’s a way for the government to quickly install 5G cell towers or to scare the population into making vaccinations mandatory. Some people just won’t believe despite proof, and sometimes they reject proof that’s given them, whereas others are trying to make a difference. Speaking with members of our church and other local churches, some people taking action despite not knowing anyone personally who is sick. Despite the physical proof, they are sewing cloth masks for the local hospital. Some are running errands for and dropping off food on the porches of the elderly. Some are making prayer shawls that they can pray over and have a nurse lay on their family member on the isolated hospital bed.
When we live out this belief, we show that it is more than a theory, it is a way of living, supported by the people of God.
Full Worship Service Video
Here’s a video of the full hour-long service (including the sermon) and you can follow along with the bulletin.
Watch the lower quality Sunday Service Zoom recording here.
You may also enjoy Bishop Yehiel Curry’s pre-prepared Sermon for April 19, 2020 on John 20:19-31. Since we had to postphone our “Lunch with the Bishop” and will have to wait to meet Bishop Curry here at FILC, hear him share on today’s gospel and get a bit acquainted.