Family Devotion Idea: Doubting Thomas
*About twice a month, we try to post the outline of a family devotion that you and your kids can do together. Carve out some time with your kids for a fun and creative discussion this week!
Believe in Jesus even when you can’t see him.
John 20:24-29 “Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to 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 it.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
Lesson and Discussion:
*Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your own words.
(Right before Family Time starts let everyone see you asking someone to let you borrow a quarter, or announce that you are picking up a quarter from the table. Stick the quarter in your pocket.) Reach in your pocket, make a fist around the quarter, and pull out your hand so that everyone can see your fist but not the quarter inside. Ask each person, Do you believe I have a quarter in my hand? Why or why not? Listen to answers. Do you believe I have a million dollars in my hand? Why or why not? Listen to answers. Is there any evidence that I might have a million dollars in my hand? Listen. Is there any evidence that I might have a quarter in my hand? Listen. Put your hand back in your pocket without showing the quarter. Leave the quarter in your pocket.
Evidence is key to believing in something you do not see.
Is there any evidence that I could have had a quarter in my hand? I saw you put a quarter in your pocket. I’ve seen you with quarters before. A quarter is not a lot of money for you so you probably have one.
Do you have faith in me enough to believe I had a quarter in my hand? Why or why not? Yes, you probably did. No, you’re always tricking us so I can’t be sure.
Reach back into your pocket and pull out the quarter. This time keep your hand open and allow everyone to see the quarter. Do you believe I have a quarter in my hand? Listen. Yes. Is there anything I can say that would convince you that I don’t have a quarter in my hand? Listen. Someone may try to argue or come up with a gimmick, which is okay. Do you believe I have a million dollars in my hand? Listen. No. Is there anything that I can say that would convince you that I do have a million dollars in my hand? Listen. No.
Some people try to say that there is no God because no one has ever seen God, much like the first time I pulled out my hand and no one saw the quarter. There was evidence that the quarter was in my hand. In the same way, there is a ton of evidence that even though we do not see God, he does exist: creation, changed lives, the Bible, an internal sense of right and wrong (add personal examples).
Some people, trying to be silly or find a loophole, might argue that the quarter is not really in my hand even when I show it to them. Someone might say, “It’s not really in you hand.” Or, “When I close my eyes I can’t see the quarter so maybe it’s not in your hand.” Or, “It might be a fake quarter.”
Seems silly? Well, God sent his son Jesus, who lived a sinless life. He performed huge miracles like feeding 5,000 people, raising a dead man back to life, and healing the blind and the lame. Jesus fulfilled every prophesy about God’s coming Messiah and he did things only God could do, but still people didn’t believe.
Thomas was a disciple of Jesus. He ate, walked, and lived with Jesus. He heard Jesus teach and saw the miracles. He heard Jesus say that he was going to have to die but not to worry because he would come back again. Yet, when people said, “Jesus is alive!” three days after he was crucified and buried in a tomb, Thomas said, “I don’t believe it.” In fact, Thomas said, “Unless I can put my finger in the nail holes in Jesus’ hands, I won’t believe it.” A week after Thomas said those words, he was in a locked room with the other disciples. SURPRISE! Out of nowhere, Jesus appeared in the locked room and said to Thomas, “Put your finger in the hole in my hand. Stop doubting and believe!” Thomas shouted, “My Lord and my God.” Seeing Jesus raised from the dead, Thomas believed.
Then Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus was talking about us. We are the ones who have not seen him but still believe in him. There is a special blessing waiting for us!
I want you to know that, like Thomas, it is normal to doubt. From time to time we may wonder, is God really there? Was Jesus really his son? It’s okay to have questions. Then, look at the evidence. Creation. Sense of right and wrong. Changed lives of Christians. And like Thomas believe.
If you like this devotion idea, there are hundreds more available from Family Time Training. See the link on the left side of this page for more information.