DOUBT

Doubting ThomasJohn 20. 19-29


Today we find the disciples still afraid, still scared, hiding behind a locked door. The person they thought was going to change the world they lived in had been arrested and killed in a very cruel way. Is it any wonder they were scared.

Thomas was one of the disciples, he had travelled with Jesus, listened to him, believed in him, then only three years later he was killed full-stop. Jesus had died their dream had died with him. They also feared for their lives. Then the rumours had begun, people had started to see Jesus, the disciples had started to see Jesus.

The rumours reached Thomas but he just didn’t believe them. They couldn’t possibly be true. It had to be grief playing tricks on their minds. They must be seeing a ghost.

Thomas “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.”

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.”
Jesus knew Thomas’ thoughts, and gave him the opportunity to not only see but to feel.  Jesus wanted the disciples to carry on the work they had started with him, if they weren’t sure, or doubted how could they possibly bring others to believe? 
Thomas didn’t really need to feel, he saw Jesus and he just knew. 
It’s through feeling that young children learn, it is an important stage of development.
In the first year, children explore their surroundings through their senses -- seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. The more they explore, the more they learn.
Even as adults we use our senses to explore and learn.  This is what Thomas wanted, to use his senses to believe what was in front of him it would only be then that he would learn the truth.  That Jesus was alive.
Why not use a feely bag to illustrate today’s story and as a reminder of the Easter story. 
First put the things in a bag; and ask the children to put their hand in and guess what the item is before taking it out. Then ask them what part of the story they represent.
For example:
·         A stone (that sealed the tomb)
·         A rough cross (Jesus was crucified on a cross)
·         Nails (they put nails in Jesus’ hands and feet, Thomas asked to see the marks)
·         A key (to represent the locked door)
·         A white feather (to represent the angels in the tomb)
·         A coin (for Judas)
·         A leaf (to remember palm Sunday)
·         A butterfly (to represent Jesus is alive)
(You may have to explain about a caterpillar, cocoon and then butterfly. Jesus was like the caterpillar on earth, after being crucified went into the tomb like a cocoon when a caterpillar goes into a cocoon it’s like they are dead, and when he was risen he was like a butterfly, changed resurrected.)
Felt doesn’t fray and is easy to either sew or glue so will make a good bag.
Then into the bag put things that represent the Easter Story and this story for the children to take home. 
I’ve also put together an easy crossword on Doubt.

Across


2. Using a key to secure.
3. When you believe something without seeing.
7. A feeling of calm
8. Using your eyes.
9. Steel pins used to secure wood.
10. The divine creator.
12. The son of God

Down


1. The disciple who doubted.
4. Believing something will happen
5. Being frightened.
6. Having faith without seeing

11. Needing proof



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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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