Red Letter Conversations - Discussion 14

Discovering life in the words of Jesus Devotions ListSign up

The Apostle Who Would Not Believe

Christ Speaks to the Problem of Broken Faith

Pray

Pray together for the group meeting, and any pressing needs within the group.

Review

Each week you’ll spend some time reviewing the previous week’s lesson. Did anything happen last week that brought the lesson to mind, and what did you learn from it?

Watch

Watch the following discussion-starter video. It’ll set the topic of discussion for the group.

John 20:24-29

  1. One person will first read the scripture selection in the King James Version.
  2. Next, another person will read the same passages in a modern language or amplified version for more clarity such as the New Living Translation (NLT), Message Bible (MSG), New English Translation (NET), Amplified Bible (AMP), etc. We recommend using the YouVersion Bible app.

Retell

  1. One person will begin retelling the scripture passage in their own words (a new person to start each week is great!) Then…
  2. As a group, work together to fill in gaps and build the story. This will help us internalize and own it. Be sure everyone participates.

Discuss

Together, share around the group how the topic and scripture setting applies to your life personally. Here are some thoughts to consider for discussion… don’t let the discussion stop here, though… what questions can you ask that will help uncover God’s message?

The Man

  • Thomas had a nickname, what was it?
  • Didymus was a greek word that meant, “twin”. What might this tell us about Thomas?
  • What effect might being called by a nickname have on a person? How about on Thomas specifically?
  • In John 11 when Lazarus was sick, Thomas offered to go to Jerusalem with Jesus knowing that he himself might die.
    • What does this tell us about Thomas’ character?
    • What does this tell us about his commitment to Jesus?
  • In John 14 when Jesus told the disciples he was going to leave and prepare a place for them, Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?”
    • What does this tell us about Thomas’ need for answers?
    • What does this tell us about how Thomas bases his faith?
    • What does this tell us about his commitment to truth?
    • What does this tell us about Thomas’ willingness to express doubt, confusion, or fear?
    • Which of these traits do you believe you possess?

The Situation

  • If you had walked into the room after watching Jesus die on a cross and be buried in a tomb, would you have struggled with believing in His resurrection?
  • What would it take to convince you that someone you loved had come back to life after being dead three days?
  • Was Thomas justified in his demand for proof?
  • In Mark and Luke we find that the women who first saw Jesus alive went to tell the disciples, and none of them believed because their words sounded like nonsense. So, was Thomas the only one who doubted?
  • What evidence did the other disciples need before they believed in Jesus’ resurrection? (John 20:25)
  • Jesus had previously predicted that he would be killed and would rise again. Did the disciples believe Him then? Why or why not?
  • Where was Thomas when the disciples first saw the resurrected Jesus?
  • Why might Thomas have not been present?
  • When you are responding to sorrow or tragedy, do you prefer to be alone or to be in the company of friends?
  • Was Thomas’ doubt sinful?
  • What might have been reasons for his unbelief?
  • Have you ever doubted God in the middle of sorrow? Would you care to share an example?

The Explanation

  • Was Thomas’ doubt about the resurrection the same as being an unbeliever of Jesus? Explain.
  • Was Thomas willing to believe, or was he just a skeptic? What’s the difference?
  • How does heartbreak affect our beliefs?
  • Had Thomas seen other miracles of Jesus? Why was it hard for him to believe in this resurrection?
  • How much evidence did Thomas have of Jesus’ death? How much evidence of his resurrection?
  • Did Thomas’ statement in verse 25 have hope in it, or doubt? Explain.
  • Woudl you have been different from Thomas in this situation?

The Resolution

  • How long did Thomas have to wait without evidence? (Verse 26)
  • What might this span of time have done to his faith?
  • What might some of the conversations have been like with the other disciples during this time?
  • How did Jesus get into the room with the doors locked?
    • What impact might this have had on the disciples?
  • Verse 27 says that Jesus specifically addressed Thomas. What does this tell us about Jesus’ desire for us to believe?
  • What did Jesus tell Thomas to do, and why?
  • What lengths has Jesus gone to convince you of Himself? Do you have an example to share?
  • What was Thomas’ response to Jesus after Jesus spoke this?
  • Did Thomas actually put his hands and finger into Jesus’ wounds? Discuss this.
  • Are doubters welcome in the presence of Jesus? Explain the impact that might have on how we lead people to Him.
  • Is Christianity about having all the answers, or about having faith? Where is the balance in this?
  • What value does doubt have in finding truth?
  • Can you think of other Bible characters whose doubt turned to unwavering faith? 
  • What was Thomas’ faith statement about Jesus in verse 28, and what does it mean? How did he view Jesus now?
  • What does Jesus reply to Thomas after his statement of faith?
    • What does this tell us about how we should approach Jesus when we have no evidence?
  • Is there enough evidence for our world to believe in Jesus? Explain.
  • What rold did the other disciples have in strengthening Thomas’ faith?
  • As we approach Easter, how can you use the events of Jesus’ resurrection to lead others to him?

Next Week’s Scriptures

The Comeback Kid: Christ Speaks to the Problem of Personal Failure – John 21:1-14