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Sermon Series: The 12 Apostles of Jesus

Sermon Number 7

Apostle Thomas

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Thomas, the Doubter or the Brave!
A sermon based on John 20:19-31
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

What we’re known for by others is often not what we’re really about. People are funny that way, they remember what stands out to them and characterize a person according to that experience—most of the time by a failure or mistake of some sort.

I painfully realized that on one of my recent visits back home. Apparently, back in Alzey, Germany, I’m still known by some as the boy who nearly burned down the village. It is true, my friends and I lit a field on fire by accident. But to be defined by something that happened so long ago, felt really strange.

Yes, it was a mistake with almost disastrous consequences; yes, my friends and I should not have started a camp fire in the dry season, and yes it took the whole village to put out the fire. But I was in the third grade, for heaven’s sake; and what about my almost impeccable life before that time? And what about my life afterwards, the fact that I devoted my life to the ministry, and the good things I have done for so many folks since?  No mention of if.  In Alzey, Germany, I’m the boy who nearly torched down the village.

The same could be said of the apostle Thomas. Honestly, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when Jesus’ disciple Thomas is mentioned?

“Doubting Thomas,” that’s right, that’s his identifier. But does that really characterize Thomas fairly? No, not at all! In fact, Thomas was one of the bravest Christians, a very insightful theologian; he had a burning desire to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the farthest ends of the world.  He was the only apostle to venture beyond the Roman Empire to bring the gospel to India and the Parthian Empire. ....

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