Open the Bible at John 20.19-31
The disciples rejoice because they are able to see and embrace Jesus after his resurrection.
The return of Jesus from the dead was all the disciples could talk about. Every one of them was so excited about it. Well, not exactly every one of them. Thomas wasn’t excited, because Thomas had missed it. ‘Unless I see the marks the nails made in his hands, I won’t believe he’s alive,’ Thomas said.
A week earlier, Jesus had appeared to 10 of the disciples. They were gathered together, hiding because they were afraid they would be killed next. Although they were in a locked room, Jesus appeared and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ As the disciples rejoiced, Jesus said, ‘As God the Father sent me, now I send you.’ Then he breathed on them, saying, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. When you forgive people their sins, they are forgiven. When you find people guilty, they are guilty.’
Thomas was with the others in the house now. ‘I’ll only believe if I put my finger in the marks and my hand in his side,’ he said. The doors were closed, just as they had been before, but again, Jesus appeared. He said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he spoke to Thomas: ‘Look at my hands and put your finger in the holes. Put your hand in the wound on my side. Do not doubt, but believe.’ Thomas was suddenly as excited as the rest of the disciples. ‘My Lord and my God!’ he cried.
Jesus asked Thomas, ‘Have you only believed because you have seen me? God blesses all those who believe even though they haven’t seen me.’ This is why the story of Jesus was written down; so that people may believe that he is the Messiah, the Son of God. All who believe in Jesus will have life through him.
Prepare a box with a special object inside it, e.g. a piece of jewellery or a precious object from church. Then, without opening the box, tell the children what you have hidden inside it; do they believe you? Do they need to investigate for themselves, in order to believe it? As you think about the bible story together, ask the children to consider: is being told something enough, or would they need to see and touch to understand and know that something is true?
- How might you have felt if you were in Thomas’ place?
- Has someone ever told you about something exciting which made you want to see for yourself?
- What can we do to invite other people to come to know Jesus?