Jesus meets us in our brokenness and shows us His scars letting us know He loves us and will be there for us.
We’ve all faced disappointments. Tell about a time you were let down. Looking back on that event who stepped in to help you through this dark time?
Life is full of joy and pain. Just because we are believers doesn’t make us immune to the hurt and discouragement of life. Even in our darkest time of fear, doubt, and frustration God is standing right beside us. Though we might not feel it or believe it, He loves us and is there! Sometimes we just need to lift our heads and open our eyes to see.
ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:
Read John 20:24-29.
1) The disciples had witnessed Jesus arrested and executed. Hopelessness, fear, and despair were setting in. He then appears to them, but Thomas is not there. He doesn’t believe their report. Would you have believed their story or thought they were grief stricken and hallucinating?
2) The disciples had locked the door to the upper room. John makes mention that when Jesus enters the room the door remained locked! Jesus literally walked through the wall and appeared inside the room among them. Why is it significant for John to note this detail?
3) Thomas is awe struck to say the least. Jesus shows him the nail prints and allows him to touch His wounds. Thomas is so flooded with a mix of emotions that all he can do is repeat “my Lord, my God!” What is the importance of this phrase?
4) Jesus tells Thomas he believes because he has seen and touched Him, but blessed are those that believe without seeing. What do you think He meant?
5) When Jesus appears to the disciples the second time, when Thomas is there, He says “peace be with you”. Then He speaks to Thomas directly. Discuss why He would greet them with “peace” and why he would single out Thomas for His next words.
6) Life can bring tragic events and great despair. The disciples were fearing for their lives and were frustrated as well as fearing all was lost. Why do you think Jesus appearing to them as a group at their lowest point made more of an impact?
7) Thomas was DONE! It was over for him. He was angry, frustrated, felt betrayed and lied to. Jesus appears to the group a second time just for the benefit of Thomas. This is important because it shows Jesus cares about each individual and meets you right where you are. How do you think this event changed Thomas and his future ministry?
8) If we are honest we can admit we sometimes think God has moved on and tuned us out. We get caught up in our self-pity party and only see and feel our self-imposed exile. When God decides to reveal Himself to us we have usually hit our lowest point. Why do you think He allows this brokenness to reach a low point?
9) People self-medicate and try to close the gap in their faith in many ways on their own. We decide God isn’t real because He has not met our idea of what God should be like or perform. He didn’t do what we told Him or how we told Him. Basically we think we are in control instead of Him. When Jesus appears to us, He steps in as a brother and friend, instead of accuser and condemner. Why in your opinion is this a better approach? Do you believe churches and Christians would have more influence if this approach was used in engaging others?
10) Each of us is human. We get depressed, hurt, angered, discouraged, and just plain fed up. At times we feel God has abandoned us or just doesn’t care. He has never left and is there waiting for you. If you are struggling with something remember your small group is family. We are not perfect and shouldn’t act as if we are. Let’s be real for a change, drop the masks, and honestly discuss if we are more like Thomas before he saw the resurrected Christ or after. If you or anyone in the group says the before Thomas then spend some time in honest dialogue about why his is. Pray through these issues as you conclude your meeting.
2) This demonstrates Jesus’ power and that He is everywhere all the time and that nothing can keep Him away from you.
3) This is the first time Jesus is called my Lord, showing He has come into His full power.
5) This lets them know everything is going to work out. He came the second time to show Thomas the truth and prepare him for his ministry. He needed all the disciples on board to continue the mission.