Doubting Thomas (John 20:19-31)
Thomas is often called “doubting Thomas” because he said he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had returned to the disciples after the resurrection until he saw and touched Jesus. Thomas wanted to know the truth and he looked for answers from Jesus.
Watch the story together:
Why do you think Jesus showed the disciples his hands and his side? (He wanted them to see the nail holes and the wound where the Roman soldiers had pierced his side. This would prove he was Jesus.)
Why didn’t Thomas believe the disciples when they said Jesus was alive?
Was Jesus angry that the disciples didn’t believe or that Thomas didn’t believe? (no)
What did Jesus say about the people who have not seen and yet believe?
Our craft for today is a very easy one. Take a plain piece of white paper and have student trace their hand(s) on the paper. Draw a heart in the center of each palm. Color the heart red. (An alternative would be to use band-aids on the palms of the hand to make a cross.). This reminds us of the holes in Jesus’ hands that Thomas could touch so he would believe that Jesus is God’s Son. We remember that the scars in Jesus’ hands were from the cross where Jesus died and, because of God’s great love, Jesus rose from the dead.
Does eating cake remind you of your birthday? Does eating jelly beans remind you of Easter and turkey remind you of Thanksgiving? Jesus ate bread with his disciples often and used that time to teach them about God’s love. Eat some bread together and think about Jesus’ love for us. Do you think Thomas and Jesus ate bread together when Jesus returned to the disciples? Enjoy sharing bread, rolls, goldfish crackers, or a similar snack. You could even make bread together.
After Jesus died on the cross, his disciples were afraid that they were going to get in trouble for being followers of Jesus, so they sat in a room with the door locked. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the room. He showed the disciples the scars in his hands and his side. They knew that he was not dead any more. Jesus was alive!
One of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, was not there that night. So the others told him, “We saw the Lord!” But Thomas did not believe his friends. He said, “I will not believe it until I see the nail marks in his hands and touch them with my fingers. And I will not believe until I put my hand where the spear went into his side.”
A week later, Jesus’ disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand here in my side. Stop doubting and have faith.”
After seeing Jesus, Thomas said, “You are my Lord and my God!” He knew it was true–Jesus was alive! Then Jesus told Thomas, “You believe because you see me. The people who believe without seeing me are the ones who are truly blessed.”
If you were around in Jesus’ day, how would you have responded to hearing that Jesus rose from the dead?
How did Thomas’ doubt become faith?
What are some doubts you have had about God?
The season of Easter is 50 days, from Easter Sunday (April 12, 2020) to Pentecost (May 31, 2020). For your prayers today, consider beginning or continuing a paperchain where everyone in your house writes one thing they are grateful for. Do this until Pentecost.
Pray: Dear God, just like Thomas we sometimes have doubts or questions. Thank you for sending us Jesus, the church, and our parents to answer our questions. (We thank you for these things say the things written on the links of your paperchain or anything for which you are thankful). We thank you for the gift of Jesus. Amen
Pastor Dan Fugate, Assistant to the Bishop for Discipleship in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA, put this lesson together for Sunday School @ Home. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.