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Thomas Wanted a One-on-One Encounter.

"So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"

But he told them, "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

The disciples' reactions to all of the different scenarios we see play out in scripture are truly amazing. So often, we just glance over them without a second thought. Yet, I love to put myself in the scenario.

How would I have reacted to the other disciples telling me they had just seen Jesus alive? Probably something like this, "Oh Really? It's been three long, terrifying days where the powerful religious leaders, Romans and mockers alike, have hunted for us. We've been hiding out together, scampering around town to replenish food supplies, trying to think of a plan to stay safe, and trying to wrap our heads around the man we followed for the last three years, having given up all that we owned, leaving the comfort of our families and friends with the hope of a messiah that had appeared to us to free us from the bondage of sin and sinful regimes, only to have them dashed to pieces, his body mutilated and humiliated in front of the whole world he came to save? REALLY, Well unless I can put my hands in his wounds, I won't believe it! How NICE that He showed up for you. I want to see him myself. Sorry, I am not satisfied with a secondhand account. It is just too unbelievable and too heartbreaking to be false. I'll NEED to see Him Myself !"

Yeah. That's pretty much how I think I would react. Having been heartbroken, with no hope left, I would not want to be lied to with some false comfort. I would rather face the truth head-on and try to move forward than believe anything secondhand.

I love this story. Why? I know so many think it is terrible of Thomas. Yet, I think it was an exciting display of desire! Of course, He wanted Jesus to be alive! Of Course, He would have been amazed and thrilled with the idea, but remember what they all experienced. It was horrific, traumatic, devastating. He was not willing to be satisfied by second-hand information. HE WANTED A PERSONAL ONE-ON-ONE Encounter with Jesus. If He had indeed risen from the dead, granting that wouldn't have been any real trouble.

How bold. How Personal. How Compelling. How Intimate.

Jesus made sure that He took the time to Encounter Thomas—not because Thomas demanded it, but because He is God, Righteous, and Just, and He desires that personal encounter with each of His disciples.

I am that type of person. I don't believe things because it's preached at me. My mother and father raised me to exercise faith while searching things out and testing everything. Now, that doesn't mean I don't end up sometimes feeling like I've been duped. I've had my share of gullible moments. Which has caused the resolve in me to rise up all the more. And I love to see this in Thomas. I love the hands-on knowledge he was seeking, the one-on-one, the visual connection, and the tactile understanding he was pleading for to prove against all impossibilities that this was real.

How persistent are you in your pursuit of God? In a crowd of believers, would you be willing to say such a thing? Think of how they all gasped when he said what he did. And yet he stood his ground, not to blast them, make them feel bad, or even disagree with them, but to say that HE WANTED A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER AS WELL.

God honored his deep heart-wrenching desire, but meeting Thomas face to face. At that moment, Thomas solidly proclaimed, "My Lord and My God!" There was no turning back. There would never again be any hesitation; now, as a fully committed servant, he would forever proclaim Jesus as His Lord and God! - That's huge. And that's why Jesus showed up. Not to satisfy some fanciful curiosity, not to pander to a wistful begging of a sign, But to



secure an unwavering faith for all future trials. (If you know the way he died, you'll understand he'd need to be fully secured).

God is willing to make Himself plain to secure our faith so that we can stand strong in the midst of all that will come at us in the future. Sometimes, this is a one-time impact, and other times, it is one layer of truth built upon another, brick by brick.

If you have doubts, bring them to God - He wants you to know Him personally, one on one. He may display something to you, or He may call you to put your hands in his side, to go digging yourself in the scriptures for the answer, not satisfied by what is told you by others, but personally encountering and intimately seeing the various aspects of who He is, as you dive deeper in His Word.

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