Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)
Context (From the Media Session Page)
Display Caravaggio’s painting of St. Thomas and ask:
– What most stands out to you in this painting?
– Who do you think it represents and why?
Play the Painting Analysis video and continue by asking:
- Why do you think the great painter cast the wounds as the key element?
- How do you feel about the statement that “Christ gives us what we need when we face doubts?”
Content (From the Mind Session Page)
Read John 20:19-31, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Ask questions like:
- The disciples had heard from Mary Magdalene that Jesus was alive and had sent them a message… and yet verse 19 finds them behind locked doors, afraid for their lives. What do you think was the emotional atmosphere in that locked room and why?
- If they already know Jesus is alive, why would they be afraid?
- In what ways might the fact that they all doubted Mary’s story before Jesus appeared change the way we see Thomas’ response?
- What do you make of Jesus’ first words to them?
- Why do you think the narrative states that he immediately offers them physical proof of his resurrection?
- How might Thomas have felt at knowing Jesus appeared to the others when he was absent?
- How does Thomas’ request compare to what the others have already seen?
- We weren’t in the room when Jesus reappeared, so we can’t know exactly how Jesus responded to Thomas. But what can we learn from the words Jesus uses; the way he acts when he first arrives; and the things he doesn’t say?
- What do you make of Jesus’ statement to Thomas: rebuke or promise?
Closure (from the Current Session page)
Continue by saying something like
Thomas showed up. We could wonder about all the self-talk, doubts and perhaps fears that he brought into that room. In a similar way, people in our culture are put on the spot when they experience an interview, a crowd, a difficult relationship, or other uncomfortable situation. Even media celebrities, who we often assume have some confidence, describe what it is like to show up in a room an be judged for an audition.
Share the Showing Up web site and ask:
- When have you experienced an audition or interview in which you experienced doubt about your ability, your beliefs, your accomplishments?
- Which actor’s story resonates with you and why?
- What did it feel like to show up when you felt such feelings and how did you get through the situation?
- Imagine the feelings Thomas brought into the room. What claim is being made when we just show up?
- What are we usually saying by showing up?
- Jesus shows up. How does this image of a Showing Up God impact your relationship with God?
- Name some moments where you might need to show up and trust that Jesus will be present.
- Pastor Erica Evans Whitaker once said: “Doubt. You normally come haunting me in the night, whispering fears into my ears. But now you have shown up on my front porch, suitcase in hand. I will embrace you like an old friend. I’ve made up the guest room for you. Please stay as long as you need. Let’s have coffee together in the mornings. Tell me your fears. Let them come into the light so they will no longer have power over us.” What would that look like in your life, to name the doubt, welcome it and sit with it?
Read John 20:26-28 again after inviting the group to think of Jesus showing up in the “guest room” we have made for our doubts, then pray together to end the session.