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InTheLight
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2724
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Doubting Thomas and the compassion of Christ

I was reading the following the other night and was both challenged and encouraged, I trust you will be also. This concerns what is written about the Apostle Thomas in John's gospel, chapter 20 and verses 24 through 31. Are you a Thomas? Is there a Thomas in your life?

We should mark for another thing in this verse, how kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers. Nowhere, perhaps, in all the four Gospels, do we find this part of our Lord’s character so beautifully illustrated as in the story before our eyes. It is hard to imagine anything more tiresome and provoking than the conduct of Thomas, when even the testimony of ten faithful brethren had no effect on him, and he doggedly declared, " Except I see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands, I will not believe." But it is impossible to imagine anything more patient and compassionate, than our Lord’s treatment of this weak disciple.

He does not reject him, or dismiss him, or excommunicate him. He comes again at the end of a week, and apparently for the special benefit of Thomas. He deals with him according to his weakness, like a gentle nurse dealing with a froward child:——" Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands ; reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side." If nothing but the grossest, coarsest, most material evidence could satisfy him, even that evidence was supplied. Surely this was a love that passeth knowledge, and a patience that passeth understanding.

A passage of Scripture like this, we need not doubt, was written for the special comfort of all true believers. The Holy Ghost knew well that the dull, and the slow, and the stupid, and the doubting, are by far the commonest type of disciples in this evil world. The Holy Ghost has taken care to supply abundant evidence that Jesus is rich in patience as well as compassion, and that He bears with the infirmities of all His people. Let us take care that we drink into our Lord’s spirit, and copy His example. Let us never set down men in a low place, as gracious and godless, because their faith is feeble and their love is cold. Let us remember the case of Thomas, and be very pitiful and of tender mercy.

Our Lord has many weak children in His family, many dull pupils in His school, many raw soldiers in His army, many lame sheep in His flock. Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away. Happy is that Christian who has learned to deal likewise with his brethren. There are many in the Church, who, like Thomas, are dull and slow, but for all that, like Thomas, are real and true believers.

-from Expository Thoughts on the Gospels by J.C. Ryle


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Ron Halverson

 2010/6/19 12:01Profile





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