John 20:24-28, NIRV
24Thomas was one of the 12 disciples. He was also called Didymus. He was not with the other disciples when Jesus came. 25So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “First I must see the nail marks in his hands. I must put my finger where the nails were. I must put my hand into his side. Only then will I believe.”
26A week later, Jesus’ disciples were in the house again. Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came in and stood among them. He said, “May peace be with you!” 27 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.”
28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Visual object: Pot with seed in it from last week.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’d have to see it to believe it”? Maybe you have said that yourself. Let’s say that your brother comes in the house and says that he has learned an amazing new trick on his bike. You would want him to show you. What if I told you I could do an amazing cartwheel? You would not believe it until you saw it.
Do we always have to be able to see something to believe it? Can you name something that you can’t see but you know is there? (Let children respond.) We can’t see air, but we can see leaves blow around, so we know air is there.
Remember last week, we planted the seed in the soil. Let’s check and see what we can discover today. Do seeds need air to grow? (Let children respond.) That’s right; the seeds need oxygen from the air to grow. We can’t see the air, but we know it’s there because we see the seeds turning into a plant and growing.
We can’t feel the love that our parents, grandparents, or friends have for us either, but we can feel their hugs and hear their loving words, and we know that their love is real.
Can we see Jesus? The real Jesus, not just pictures of him? (Let the children respond.) How do we know Jesus is real? (Let children share their thoughts.) We believe what the Bible says. We feel Jesus’ love in our hearts. We can see the way people act when they show Jesus’ love to others. They are kind and happy. Maybe we can’t say we have seen Jesus with our own eyes, but we still believe in him.
Thomas was a disciple of Jesus, and he knew that Jesus had died on the cross. Thomas heard that Jesus was alive. Could this be true? Mary said it was. The other disciples said so. Thomas could not believe that Jesus was alive unless he was able to see and touch him.
After Thomas saw Jesus was alive, Jesus told him to stop doubting.
We can’t touch Jesus the way Thomas did. For over two thousand years, Christians have believed in Jesus without being able to see him for themselves. The good news is that Jesus cares about all his followers, not just the ones that saw him face to face. He makes the promise of everlasting life to all those who follow him. Even if we can’t see Jesus, we can see the everlasting life that he gives us.
My Lord and my God, make my faith strong so I can see for myself the joy of following you. Amen.