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Not Alone Internet Ministry

Blind Ministry administered by St. Paul Lutheran Church

2137 East John Avenue
314.458.4561

St. Louis, MO 63107
[email protected]








John 20:24-31 (NIV)
24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with
the disciples when Jesus came.
25 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."
26 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!"
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."
28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have
believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his
disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his
name.



The Thomas Factor

On Easter we read about how the stone was rolled away. An angel was
present in the tomb to greet whoever came searching for Jesus. Jesus
was not there!

As the day unfolded, people started to report that they had seen Jesus.
This supported the claim of the empty tomb and Jesus' resurrection.

The Jewish rulers were furious to here of the news that the tomb was
empty. There was no telling what they do next. They killed Jesus,
why would they stop there.
The disciples were afraid and so gathered together behind locked doors.
Jesus stood among them. He gave them his peace, a peace which locked
doors, might of armies, or the world can not give. He showed them his
hands, feet and side. This was the evidence that verified he was alive.

Thomas, one of the 12 disciples, was not there. When the others told
Thomas of the events of the day, the empty tomb and Jesus' appearance,
he did not believe. And this brings rise to the "Thomas Factor".

We may call Thomas a doubter, but not a coward. Why?

Earlier, as they were headed toward Jerusalem, some of the disciples
told Jesus he shouldn't go there as some people had threatened to kill
him. Jesus said he was going anyway. In response, Thomas, in John 11:16
said, "Let's go with him and die with him." These aren't words of a
coward!

Also, it should not be overlooked that Thomas was not locked up behind
doors for fear of the Jews as were the other disciples. Sure Thomas
doubted. He just couldn't trust or believe his friends. Their words
did not match their fear-filled actions.

A week later, Jesus came to them, and especially Thomas to chase away
doubt. Jesus showed them his hands which had the nail marks. He
showed them his hands which held an ax, a saw and hammer. He showed
them his hands which had done hard work and much toil. In spite of
all this work, his hands were clean hands, clean from sin and evil.
These loving hands of Jesus did not deserve to be treated as a robber
or thief, with nails and punishment. Jesus was more than happy to show
them his hands for those hands had also held the sins of the world.
Those hands had wrestled with the devil and won. Those hands were held
by death's strong grip, but the hands of Jesus were stronger and threw
off death's clenching hold on him and all believers. Those hands
reached out to Thomas to dispel his doubts and despair. He is alive!

When invited to touch his hands and put a hand in his spear-pierced
side Thomas said, "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." John
20:28-29 the "Thomas Factor" was met and overcome.

What did Jesus mean by these words? Certainly one's thoughts go to the
thousands, no millions who have not actually seen Jesus. This includes
you and me.

Yet there is still another meaning to his words. This is the "Thomas
Factor".
Have you ever considered why the Apostle John included a whole chapter
of his Gospel to the giving of sight to a man born blind? In this chapter
Jesus points out that in God's sight, the one who is blind is the one
who does not believe or trust in him. These were the Pharisees. The
one who sees, in God's view, is the one who professes faith in Jesus
this was the man who was physically blind: later given physical sight,
later thrown out of the Synagogue. Things are not always as they first
appear.

It is true that physical blindness can present many challenges and
obstacles. The challenges however are not the ones of which people
first think. If you speak to a person who has been blind for many years
they will note that it is not the steps, throw rugs or can goods in
the kitchen that are a problem. Steps and rugs are land marks, felt
by the feet. Can goods can be labeled with Braille or other markings.
A long time blind person will note it is the demeaning, belittling,
or patronizing attitudes and opinions of people that are most
difficult.

And so when Christians act as a stumbling block rather than a stepping
stone, why and how is a physically blind person to trust and believe
words of a sighted Christian? Thomas did not believe the other
disciples. "If Jesus was alive, why are you all hiding behind locked
doors? If he is alive, act like it". This is the "Thomas Factor".

And this is the depth of Jesus' love. Jesus dispelled the doubt of
Thomas and the fears of the others by showing and giving them his hands,
his nail scarred hands. It showed them he was alive, real, and therefore
sins are forgiven. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
believed."

And now, today, we are the hands, feet and voice of Jesus so that His
Word and Spirit may pierce the locked doors of blind hearts. Living
out our faith will show that Jesus is alive, real, and therefore sins
are forgiven.

Certainly Not Alone Internet Ministry is the voice of Jesus speaking
a word of hope to those who are physically blind. You're coming along
side through prayer and financial support goes a long way. We thank
you.

May we be courageous witnesses to our family, friends, neighbors and
coworkers.