John 20: 24-29
Apologies for the rather sporadic posting recently. With the Easter holidays things seemed to have gotten a lot more hectic, but here’s hoping things settle down again soon. For the moment however we bring you a lesson on Thomas as it highlights some interesting points not just about believing in Jesus but also in the Resurrection itself.
Talk to the children about something quite unbelievable. I for one intend to talk about my pet dragon. My dragon is huge, at least the size of my house. He is so big he has to live in the garden, but when he snores he breathes fire and so he has burned all my plants. His name is Frederick and he has dark green scales that are quite shiny in the sun. Sometimes when I am bored we go flying together. We have to stay hidden above the clouds though because otherwise people would get scared of him.
Even though I have no reason to lie about this, it is completely unbelievable that I would own such a beast. We know that dragons don’t exist and so why would you believe me when I tell you I have one, even if I can describe it to you in minute detail. You would probably only believe it if you could see it!
This is how Thomas must have felt. When the disciples told him that they had seen Jesus he must have thought they had gone mad with grief! We know that people (as a general rule) do not come back from the dead and Thomas had seen Jesus die. Just like you don’t believe me that I have a pet dragon, Thomas did not believe his friends when they told him what they had seen.
The reading comes from John 20: 24-29.
Ask the children if there has ever been a time when they have had to see something before they believed it?
Thomas did. Thomas gets a lot of bad press for being the disciple who did not believe in Jesus. But as we have already seen, sometimes we need to see something to believe it, so we are not all that different from him. We must also remember that earlier in John’s gospel it was Thomas who said ‘let us also go that we may die with him’ when Jesus was going to Bethany, so we can see that he was also a courageous man. We also forget that we have the benefit of hindsight. We know that Jesus rose from the dead, but for Thomas this was just as ridiculous as my pet dragon.
Ask the children how Thomas might have feeling when he met the disciples that day.
Some ideas are: angry at people for killing Jesus – Angry at himself for running away – Sad because Jesus was dead – Disappointed that he had not seen Jesus with the others – Confused because his friends were saying that a man he knew was dead was alive.
While Thomas did not believe the disciples, he also did not tell them off for their beliefs. Even though he did not believe he did not tell them that they were stupid for thinking Jesus was coming back from the dead, nor did he walk away from them. You might meet people or already know someone who will only stay around others while they are saying things they can agree with or will think less of someone if they have a different opinion. Whatever Thomas might have thought about the other disciples and their claims he did not berate them or walk away from them, he stayed with them and waited for Jesus to show himself again.
But it is Jesus’ words to Thomas that are the most important; ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’. Thomas was so lucky that Jesus revealed himself in person, the rest of us will not see Jesus until He comes again, for the moment we have to trust that He is there. ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ talks about us who will not see Jesus in person, but know that He is there.
Sometimes it is easy to doubt that God is there. Think about times when we have been in prayer and we have felt so close to God. It is easy to doubt that He is there at times when we do not feel this closeness. But we do not need to see Jesus to believe that he is there. When we feel far from God instead of doubting that He is there we should go to Him in prayer and try to recapture that feeling of His love.
Seeing is Believing
If you have magic pens (the set that use a white pen to change the colour of other pens) write ‘My Redeemer Lives’ across a white piece of paper on white paper. Show this to the children, you cannot see anything, but the words are still there. Colour over the paper in whatever colour you like to reveal the words. If you do not have magic pens you can write the words using a white crayon or a white candle, revealing them with a normal felt pen.
We have to put a lot of trust in Jesus that he knows what’s best for us. Ask the children to think about one question they would like to ask Jesus. Have them write it down. Discuss the questions as a group. You may already know the answer, or perhaps you know a part of the Bible that would be helpful. If the question is something nobody could answer, you could use it as an example of something you can take to Jesus in prayer and trust that He will answer it one day.
You will need:
-Simply spell the word Trust using the letter beads and tie it the ends to stop them slipping off.
There’s a lovely craft on resurrection eggs available at ehow here.
We also have a number of crafts on our All Purpose Crafts posts.
In other news, I am cutting my considerably long hair for the benefit of a baby suffering with Jourdan’s syndrome, a rare disease that affects just one in a hundred thousand babies. The hair itself will go to a charity that provides wigs for children. If you would like to sponsor me, or read more about this please visit http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/help-cameron-/48234, all donations and prayers are very, very gratefully received.