You may remember Nicodemus from John chapter 3. He was the confused teacher left wondering by Jesus how he can be 'born again'.
Well that's not the end of his story! In John 19 we meet Nicodemus again, this time he's preparing and showing respect to Jesus' dead body. More than most, Nicodemus seems to have understood that Jesus really was from God.
In the passage we explore today, Jesus' disciple, Thomas, is sceptical about the news that Jesus is alive - risen from the dead. He declares he will not believe without proof he can see and touch for himself.
Perhaps you've got friends who don't get Jesus - maybe you even count yourself in that category. Perhaps you've got friends who are doubtful or sceptical about Jesus.
Don't despair. God cares and has time for even the most confused of enquirers, or demanding of sceptics.
Are there people like this whom you can be praying for, following up and reaching out to today?
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
24 Now Thomas (also known as 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."
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 performed many other 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 Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The risen Jesus said 'peace be with you' three times when appearing to the disciples. Why do you think he repeated these words?
Do you think it was wrong for Thomas to ask for proof? How would you describe Jesus' attitude to Thomas' doubt?
What does this story tell us about belief?
We can't see or touch Jesus, so what evidence can we base our faith on? What do you need from Jesus to help you believe?
Who are 'those who have not seen and yet have believed' (v.29)? Why are they blessed?