The third illustration about the disciple, Thomas, takes place after the resurrection.
You remember the story in John, how in chapter 20, the risen Jesus appears to the disciples in the Upper Room, but Thomas was not there?
And when they told Thomas they had seen the Lord,
“He said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hand the print of the nails, and put my fingers into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.'”
Such an exclamation could only have come from God for such detail, for this was another way of citing proof of the risen Lord Jesus!
And it was again Thomas who helped solidify the faith of many!
“And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you.'”
“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.'”
“And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!”
You can imagine the scene, because Thomas loved the Lord!
“Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'”
You see, Jesus needed the unbelief of Thomas to cement the resurrection story in generations to come in his adoring gratitude that the resurrection of Jesus was real and meant life after death in Him.
And here is the faith of Christianity: Blessed are they who have not seen Me, but believe.
After His time on earth, Jesus gathered His eleven disciples to the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem, in Acts 1:9…
“While they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
And that’s why we ought to always be looking upward to the clouds and beyond the stars, up to Heaven. And we ought to look for a sign of the Cross in the clouds that the Lord might give us? For one day we shall meet the Lord Jesus in the air, above the clouds!
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, Behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?'”
These two men were God’s angels!
“This same Jesus who was taken up from you into Heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.”
There is is.
How the thoughts of Thomas must have returned to that day in the Upper Room during the Last Supper, when now he finally understood what Jesus meant when He said, “I will come again and receive you unto Myself”…so that where I am (now in Heaven), there you will be also with Me…forever!
Why, one day He shall come for me, thought Thomas, and for us unto future generations, and we shall be with our Lord forevermore.
Now Thomas knew the Way…Jesus…and he knew where Jesus went! This was the blessed truth of salvation, our blessed hope of life eternal with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
What else about Thomas, you ask?
Well, he put his faith into action and thus fulfilled the Great Commission Jesus commanded them after the resurrection, as found in Matthew 28:16-20…
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me, in Heaven and on earth.'”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe the things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He shall be with us until the end of this Age, the Church Age, the Age of Grace, now in 2016…1983 since the mighty Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and His glorious Ascension up to Heaven to the Father. Can you imagine that awesome, unforgettable, glorious sight the disciples saw? One day we shall see Him as He is, and be with Him in all His glory, power and might! Can you imagine?
Thomas spent the following years traveling and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in what is today, Iran, and then, India, where he remained until his death.
Saint Thomas died a martyr on December 21, 72 A,D., in Mylapore, India, two years after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the city by the Romans!
Thomas taught so people might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing they would have life in His name.
One day, when we shall arise from the grave, and the living shall be changed-translated, in an instant, and we shall all have new, glorified bodies just like His, and we shall see Him as He is, and we shall see Him face to face where we shall meet Him is the air, above the clouds…one day.
Why, when we see Him on that day, I can imagine we all shall exclaim with adoration those immortal words Thomas spoke so many years ago when he saw the risen Christ:
“MY LORD AND MY GOD!”
Even so, come Lord Jesus, come.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.