Yeah Right! Children’s Message on Doubting Thomas
Main Objective: Do we need to see things to believe them? How can we know that what we are told is true? This message focuses on the importance of trusting God’s Word as a reliable source of information, given for us to know and understand who He is. It also reviews the story of “doubting Thomas” to consider that doubts will come, but Christ is with us in those doubts. Genuine faith is belief without physical proof.
Law/Gospel Theme: We have a tendency to scoff at the “doubter” for his skepticism, but there’s an important element to note in this passage. Jesus didn’t leave Thomas in his uncertainty; He showed up. He recognized that Thomas was not so strong in his faith, but He came to work him through it. Thomas went on to do amazing things for God’s kingdom. We can take from this how much Christ cares about us. He is with us in our doubts, and will help us through them. He is always with us and gives His peace.
Optional Materials: Pictures to accompany bizarre trivia facts; Bible
Bible Passage: John 20:19-31
Message: Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs. Use your judgment and ideas to best serve students.
Greet the children and challenge them to discern truth on some unique facts.
Hello, children of God!
We are going to play a little game today. It’s a game of “fact or fiction.” Do you know what a fact is? That’s right, a fact is something that is true. Fiction means it’s made up, make-believe. I am going to list some things, and I want you to see if you can figure out whether they are real or fake statements. Are you ready?
List several hard-to-believe facts, and if appropriate, hold up a picture to accompany them. Consider such things as…
There is an animal that poops in the shape of a cube.
There is an underground cave in Missouri full of hundreds of thousands of pounds of cheese!
There are more trees on the Earth than there are stars in the galaxy.
Thomas Jefferson introduced macaroni and cheese to the United States.
Feel free to elaborate as much as time and attention allow.
Now, it just so happens that all of those things are actually true. But how do you know that? How could you verify what I have told you? I mean, there are plenty of information sources out there that might tell you one thig or another. Can we trust everything we hear? Of course not. But it’s important to know what we can and should believe. We also need to realize that there are some things we can trust to be true, even without physical evidence. For instance, I have a source of truth right here. Hold up Bible. Every word of this book is true and valuable. There is plenty of research to back the historical authenticity of the Bible, but to some extent, we might not always understand what it says. We might things in here that seem strange or unbelievable, and that’s where faith comes in.
There’s a story in this Bible about a man who had a hard time with faith. His name was Thomas, and he was one of the disciples of Jesus. Now, after Jesus rose from the grave, He came and appeared to His disciples. He gave them peace, reassured them, and showed Himself. But Thomas wasn’t with them at the time, for some reason. We aren’t sure just why, but he missed that important encounter with the Lord. The others tried to tell him about it, but he refused to believe them! Maybe he didn’t want to be disappointed. Maybe he was just very skeptical, or perhaps the disciples had a habit of pulling pranks on one another. Whatever the reason, he was not around when Jesus came, so he said he wouldn’t believe it happened. In fact, he was determined to doubt unless Jesus showed up and Thomas saw him with his own eyes. And that’s what Jesus did! He appeared again, a week later, this time when Thomas was there. He told Thomas to look at Him, touch Him, and stop doubting. Thomas felt pretty sheepish right about then! He acknowledged Jesus as Lord and God. Jesus told him that he had believed because he saw, but it was even more wonderful for people who didn’t see, and still believed.
There are a couple of great things we can take away from this passage. For one thing, we see here that doubt is okay. Jesus allowed Thomas to doubt. He was there with him, and appeared even after Thomas didn’t blindly trust in Him. Jesus is there with us through times of uncertainty, too. There might be times when we have difficulty understanding or believing, and that’s okay. We can ask for God’s help in working through that. Another important element we see in this story is a special promise Jesus gave. He said “blessed are those who have not seen and still believe.” Who does that include? Us! We have not physically seen Jesus, but we know that we can still trust in His word and believe His truth. And He calls us blessed for it. He values our love and faith, even if we struggle at times. We can rely on Him. We know His words are true, and written so that we may believe. Faith is believing even when we don’t see. So let’s be people of faith!
Why don’t we pray now and ask God to help us in times of doubt?
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for being with us and loving us
Thank you for helping us understand
Help us to trust in you
Even in times of doubt or uncertainty.
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.