Believing is seeing. 

The Gospel of John: John 20.1-31

Read and meditate on John 20.24-31.
Jesus emphasized the importance of believing over seeing. If we believe, we will see; if we insist on seeing, we will hesitate, perhaps even doubt, and thus miss the blessing He intends.

                24One of the twelve was not then met
with all the others – Thomas, called the Twin.
25And the disciples therefore said to him,
“We all have seen the Lord!” He said to them,
“Unless I see His hands, and feel in them
the nail prints, and can reach my hand within
His side, then I will not believe.” 26And then,
eight days thereafter, His disciples were
again together, inside, and the door
was shut, and Jesus stood before them and
He said, “Peace to you!” 27Then He showed His hands
to Thomas, saying, “Reach your finger here,
and see My hands; and put your hand right here,
into My side. Now, do not doubt. Instead,
believe.” 28Then Thomas answered Him and said,
“My Lord, My God!” 29And Jesus said, “Since you
have seen Me, you believe in Me. All who
believe and have not seen Me, they are blessed.”

30And it is true, that many are the rest
of all the signs that Jesus did when He
was present with His friends, which cannot be
recorded in this book. 31But all of these
are written here so that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son
of God, so that believing truly on
His Name, you may have life.

- John 20.24-31

1.  Thomas insisted that he would not believe unless he could see for himself. What was wrong about that? Why is that not a good model for following Jesus? Complete this prayer: Lord, I know I can’t always “see” how everything You say is true, so I…

2.  Jesus condescended to Thomas’ lack of faith, but do you get the impression this was an extraordinary measure on Jesus’ part? Explain. Lord, I believe! Help my…

3.  Jesus rebuked Thomas for doubting the report of the other disciples and insisting on “seeing for himself.” Why is it a good thing that He did? Who should expect to know the blessing of Jesus? Of what does that blessing consist? My greatest blessing, Lord, is knowing You, and…

4. An old saw has it that “seeing is believing.” Augustine said, however, “believing is seeing.” What did he mean, and why is he right? I will see You more clearly, Lord, and know Your will more perfectly, and I will tap into Your power more consistently if I…
5.  John reminds us of the purpose of his book (vv. 30, 31). Summarize his purpose. Does this make the gospel of John a good book to read with an unbelieving friend? Why or why not? How might you approach that challenge? Bring together into one your prayers from questions 1-4.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ These words were wonderfully pertinent, and they can be of very great help to us. They demonstrate once again how much he cares for our souls, for he is good, and as Scripture says, ‘He wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ Even so, this saying of his may surprise us. As always, Christ had to be patient with Thomas when he said he would not believe and with the other disciples too when they thought they were seeing a ghost. Because of his desire to convince the whole world, he most willingly showed them the marks of the nails and the wound in his side. Because he wanted those who needed such signs as a support for their faith to have no possible reason for doubt, he even took food, although he had no need for it.” Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD)

Why is it so hard for people to live by faith? What does living by faith entail? How can believers help one another to walk by faith, and not by sight?

Closing Prayer
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the written judgment—
This honor have all His saints.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 149.4-9

Psalm 149 (Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art )
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.

Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace;
Show us the mercy of Your saving face.

Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand;
Publish His grace and wrath in every land!

T. M. Moore

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Need help learning to pray the psalms? Order the book, God’s Prayer Program, and discover why and how to realize the power of the psalms to transform your prayer life (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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