多馬的認信──THOMAS’ CONFESSION(梁明浩牧師)2015.2.1

中文文字版翻譯歸【葡萄樹傳媒】所有,轉載請註明出處

主題:多馬的認信
經文:約翰福音 20:24-29
證道:梁明浩牧師

很多人都有綽號,那你是否也有呢?有些綽號很好、有些很有趣、也有有一些很惡劣,且很傷人的。有一個人,他有一個不太榮譽的綽號,他就是多馬。人們常稱他為「懷疑的多馬」。我們今天來看約翰福音,透過這卷書,我們可以猜想到為何多馬會得到此綽號。

除了多馬之外,每一位主的門徒都見過復活的主,他們告訴多馬他們見了耶穌,可是多馬卻說:「我非看見他手上的釘痕、用指頭探入那釘痕、又用手探入他的肋旁、我總不信。」因著這一段的記載,後一代的人都稱他為「懷疑的多馬」。

如果我們以此為衡量標準,這綽號不單單給了多馬,也用在其他門徒身上。耶穌被釘死在十字架之前,祂告訴門徒:「我將要被殺,三天後我要復活。但我復活以後、要在你們以先往加利利去。」那麼耶穌死後,門徒該做些什麼呢?他們理當在三天後,熱切地、興奮地等候著,期待著將要來的復活及勝利!但事實上卻不是如此。

在復活那日,有幾個婦女回來告訴主的門徒說,主復活了。當門徒聽見這消息,你猜他們會去哪裡?

1. 回家?
2. 去墳墓?
3. 去加利利?

是的,他們應讓去加利利,在那裡要遇見耶穌,可是他們卻不相信這消息,所以他們往墳墓去看。你還記得當他們看見空的墳墓時,他們做了什麼事?路加記錄了彼得的回應:「他回家了、心裡希奇所成的事。」彼得沒有去加利利。當天晚上,耶穌親自站在門徒中向他們顯現,把祂的身體給他們看,然而他們卻驚慌害怕。所以耶穌對他們說:「你們為甚麼愁煩.為甚麼心裡起疑念呢。」

因此這「懷疑」的綽號應該封給所有的門徒。

但事實上,多馬這個人應得「最忠貞之人」的綽號。你知道為什麼嗎?一天,耶穌聽見拉撒路死了,祂告訴門徒:「我們再往猶太去罷!」門徒卻很害怕地說:「猶太人近來要拿石頭打你、你還往那裡去麼。」但多馬卻說:「我們也去和他同死罷。」多馬就是一個願意冒著生命的危險來跟從耶穌的人。

到底是什麼緣因,他變得那麼不相信耶穌的復活呢?我們不清楚。不過,我們卻可以說,像多馬這位曾經熱情、堅心信靠的人也會失去信心,以致懷疑。

那麼你呢?你有因著害怕、不安或是失望而懷疑過什麼嗎?

多馬不相信耶穌的復活,就算其他門徒告訴了他這消息,他仍然不改變他的想法。

約翰在20:26如此說:「過了八日…」。

約翰說八日過去了,多馬也沒什麼改變,你覺得這八天裡他有什麼感受?你猜他在這八天裡想些什麼?對他來說,這八天的時間應該比八年還要來得長。他應該經歷到孤單的痛苦,因為耶穌向所有門徒顯現,除了他!耶穌造訪門徒,但耶穌從未在這八天中向他顯現。對耶穌來說,向他顯現,算不了什麼。

多馬或許會這麼想… :

「如果主真的復活了,祂怎麼可以這樣子對我?我跟其他人一樣,都是祂的門徒,也盡力地、忠貞的跟從了祂,我有否把我的生命放在沒價值、沒意義的東西上呢?我不是祂的門徒嗎?我不是神的孩子嗎?其他門徒似乎在神的眼前得了恩寵,除了我… ,我被棄絕了嗎?」

這種痛苦的思想不斷地在他腦海裡盤旋著。多馬肯定切切地、全心地來懇求,並且很痛苦地等待著耶穌向他顯現。我們的主知道他怎麼想、關心他所經歷的嗎?這八天過去了,他懇切的禱告並沒有得到任何的回應。

我們在座的人,有沒有人像多馬一樣,經歷了長長的八天,在這八天裡,耶穌似乎默然不語,並不關心多馬。在座的,有沒有人也有同樣的感受,就是你那長久以來的禱告還未得到應允,你為醫治的禱告沒果效,你家中的問題、你的財物上的問題… 以及許許多多生活上的問題,依然有待解決呢?如今你處在你生命的黑暗期,是否已感到無比的筋疲力盡,以致無法再繼續禱告呢?就算如此,不要灰心,你將會與神的時間相遇!聖經裡一些信心的偉人,不也經過一個長時間的等待,在這段時間裡,神似乎對他們靜默不語,也不關心他們,有些人在這段時間裡還受到不實的指控。請不要放棄,就算你感覺到神的時間似乎在耽延,但終究必來到。我們所期待的時間從來不會與神的意念相同,但最終必要來到。因此,我們所等候神的時間,不是一個「被棄絕的時間」,乃是神依然在我們生命中工作的「恩典時間」。

耶穌復活之後,彼得、約翰和幾位門徒決定打魚去。我們都知道,彼得是位老練的漁夫,他非常熟悉加利利海,但是那天晚上,那些魚似乎不與彼得合作,這位經驗豐富的漁夫竟然沒有打著甚麼。這實在是一個奇蹟!是的,這真是一個奇蹟!有人就猜,那天晚上一定發生了這個神蹟,就是每當彼得把網撒在船的右邊,耶穌就使所有的魚往左邊跑;當彼得把網撒在船的左邊,耶穌就向所有的魚放放往右邊跑的信號。如果不是這樣子的話,那一夜怎麼會沒有打著甚麼呢?

正當彼得和他的朋友們經歷了挫敗感後,主也預備好迎見這群失望的門徒。他們需要的是「耶穌」,不是「魚」。經過漫漫長夜之後,天將亮的時候,他們遇見耶穌。耶穌站在岸上等待著他們,就對他們說:「小子、你們有喫的沒有?」祂早知道他們的境況,然後祂再說:「你們把網撒在船的右邊、就必得著。」魚兒聽見耶穌這樣說,一定都游到船的右邊,漁夫一把網撒下去,竟拉不上來了、因為魚甚多。

在我們的生命中,我們要得經過「一夜並沒有打著甚麼」的時候。但是縱然如此,因著神常在我們的生命中,我們生活的每一個時刻,都有神的恩典;就算有些時候甚至靜默無聲,甚麼事也沒發生,神的恩典依然存在,表明祂仍在工作中。

在這八天寂靜的黑暗裡,神仍與多馬同在。

八天過去了,耶穌來到門徒聚集的地方,這一次,祂似乎是衝著多馬而來的。當耶穌來到,祂就對多馬說:「伸過你的指頭來、摸我的手.伸出你的手來、探入我的肋旁.不要疑惑、總要信。」耶穌所說的話,正是與多馬八天前和門徒所說的一致。這就是說… 耶穌聽見多馬對其他門徒所說的話!這也是說… 耶穌聽見多馬的禱告!這說明… 耶穌知道多馬心裡的意念、他的淚、嘆息和呻吟。

詩篇 139篇1-4節說:「耶和華阿、你已經鑒察我、認識我.我坐下、我起來、你都曉得.你從遠處知道我的意念。我行路、我躺臥、你都細察、你也深知我一切所行的。耶和華阿、我舌頭上的話、你沒有一句不知道的.」

你是否覺得神對你靜默不語呢?請記得,神知道你的意念,神認識我們,神看我們每一個為寶為尊。

多馬沒有觸摸耶穌的手,他也不能這麼做,而事實上,他也沒必要去摸耶穌,為什麼?因為耶穌早清楚他的境況、他的心、狀態、恐懼、失望和呻吟──耶穌知道他的一切,且比多馬更清楚他自己。

現在,我希望你們記得耶穌怎麼對多馬說話,耶穌告訴他:「不要疑惑、總要信」。所見到的,不代表一切。正如保羅說:「因為所見的是暫時的、所不見的是永遠的。」(林後 4:18)我們人生非常有限地活在一個世代裡,我們無法猜測神的旨意和作為如何在各世代中成就。我們只能瞥見我們這世代中所出現的一小部份而已。

我曾經聽過這麼的一個故事:一天清晨,一隻青蛙碰見一隻蜉蝣,它們就成為好朋友。到了晚上,當天色開始暗下來,青蛙對蜉蝣說:「天色開始暗了,我們明天再玩吧!」蜉蝣說:「明天?什麼是明天?」青蛙回應說:「你不曉得什麼是明天?很快就天黑了,你就不能再玩了,晚上我們都要回去睡覺的,第二天就會醒過來,那就是明天了!」蜉蝣說:「晚上、明天… 你在開玩笑嗎?我完全不懂!沒有晚上、沒有明天。」第二天,青蛙找不著蜉蝣。幾天之後,它找到另一個新朋友,是一隻蚱蜢,它們每一天都是美好的,青蛙很開心,因為蚱蜢懂得它說:「明天見。」幾個星期後,天氣轉涼了,一天青蛙對蚱蜢說:「嗨!我想我們要準備冬眠了!我們不能在冬天玩,明年見!」出乎意料的,蚱蜢對它說:「什麼是冬天?你說「明年見」是什麼意思?我從來都沒聽過這話。」青蛙也感到訝異,就很細心的告訴它什麼是「冬天」。但蚱蜢卻說:「下雪?冬天?明年?我完全不懂你在講些什麼?朋友,沒有什麼冬天、沒有什麼明年!」當第二年青蛙冬眠後醒來,它已找不到蚱蜢了。

蜉蝣的智慧不像蚱蜢,它只存留一天;但蚱蜢也只能存留一個季節,所以也不懂青蛙的意念。所以,我們無法識透創造主的智慧、知識和意念。我相信你們都仍記得神怎麼對以賽亞說,神說:「天怎樣高過地、照樣我的道路、高過你們的道路、我的意念、高過你們的意念。」(賽 55:9)

神認識我們,祂也顧念我們,祂與我們同在,祂也幫助我們,所以,在我們身處的所有環境中,讓我們抓緊神的應許,並向主大聲地宣告說:「祢是我的主、我的神」。因著信,讓我們過一個得勝的生活,在我們生命中的每一個時刻裡,不斷地如此來宣告,直到主的再來。


Thomas’ Confession

Have you ever had any nick names? Many people have their nick names. Some nick names are pleasant, some are very funny, and still others are a little bit harsh to hurt people’s heart. There was a man who had a dishonorable nick name. His name is Thomas. People often call him ‘doubting Thomas.’ From the Gospel of John, which we read this morning, we can guess how Thomas got this nick name.

All the disciples except Thomas had seen the risen Lord. And they told Thomas that they had seen Jesus. Then Thomas said that he would not believe until he really sees Jesus and touches him. Because of this episode, the later generations began to call him ‘doubting Thomas.’

But, using that yard stick, that nick name has to be given not only to Thomas but also to all other disciples. Before Jesus was crucified, he told them, “I am going to be killed soon but after three days I will rise again. After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Now, what should they do after Jesus died? For three days, they should have eagerly waited with excitement, expecting the coming victorious resurrection. But that was not the case.

At the day of resurrection, a couple of women broke the news to the disciples that the Lord has risen. When they heard that news, where do you think they should have gone? 1) To their houses? 2) To the tomb, 3) to Galilee? Yes, they should go to Galilee to meet Jesus. But they couldn’t believe the news. So they ran into the tomb to check. Do you remember what they did after they saw the empty tomb? Luke records Peter’s response in this way, “…then he went home, amazed at what had happened.” Peter didn’t go to Galilee. And that night, Jesus appeared where the disciples gathered and showed them his body, but they didn’t believe it. So Jesus said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”

Therefore, the nick name “doubting” should be given to all disciples.

In fact, Thomas was deserved to be called ‘a man of loyalty.’ Do you know why? One day when Jesus heard that Lazarus died, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” Then, all other disciples got scared and said, “The Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” But Thomas said, “Let us go with him so that we may die with him.” Thomas was a kind of person who was willing to risk his own life to follow Jesus.

But for whatever reason, he became a person who would never believe Jesus’ resurrection. We don’t know why. But one thing we can say is that even a person like Thomas who once had a strong faith and passion can lose a faith and doubt.

How about you? Have you ever doubted before, because of fear or anxiety or disappointment?

Thomas did not believe Jesus’ resurrection. He wouldn’t change his mind even after he was told the news from his fellow disciples.

Then, John begins verse 26 in this way, “Eight days later…”

John says that ‘Eight days’ passed by without anything happening to Thomas. How do you think he felt during those eight days? What do you guess he thought for those eight days? For him, those eight days might have felt longer than eight years. He must have experienced painful loneliness. Jesus appeared to all disciples but him. Jesus met them. But Jesus never appeared to him for those long eight days. For Jesus, it is not a big deal to show himself to Thomas.

Thomas could have thought like these…:

“If it is true that the Lord rose again, how could He treat me like this? I am the same disciple as others and have followed him faithfully with my best. Did I put my life in worthless and hopeless things? Am I not his disciple? Am I not a child of God? All the other disciples seem to find favor in God’s eye except me. Am I abandoned?”

Those painful thoughts must have kept crossing his mind. Thomas must have prayed and beseeched wholeheartedly, and painfully waited and waited for Jesus to appear. Does our Lord know his mind and care what Thomas is going through? Those long eight days are just passing by without any answer to his earnest prayers.

Is there anyone in this room who is currently going through the similar eight days as Thomas had to experience, those eight days for which Jesus seemed not to care about Thomas and just kept silent to him? Is there anyone who is feeling that your longstanding prayers are not answered, your prayers for healing do not work, and problems in your family and finance and other problems in your life are still pending unresolved? And are you now passing through the darkest time in your life? Are you exhausted not able to pray anymore? Even then, do not despair. You will meet God’s timing. Many people of faith in the Bible are those who passed through long periods of time when God seemed not to care for them and kept silent. Some of them had to spend those times under a false accusation. Please do not give up. Even though you feel that God’s timing seems to be delayed, it will arrive. Our expected time will not always come into line with the time in God’s mind, but it will surely arrive. Therefore, our time of waiting for God’s timing is not a time of our being abandoned. It’s a time of grace when God is still working in our life.

Some time after Jesus was resurrected, Peter, John, and several disciples decided to go out to fish. As we all know, Peter is a veteran fisherman, and he knows very well about the Sea of Galilee. But that night, it seemed that fish were not cooperative with Peter. What a miracle for this skilled fisherman to catch nothing! Yes, it could be called a miracle. Somebody guessed, that night a miracle might have happened this way. When Peter cast his net to the right, Jesus drove all fish to the left. And Peter cast a net to the left, and then Jesus sent a signal to all fish to move to the right. If it was not the case, how come no fish had been caught all night?

While Peter and his friends were experiencing continuous failure in fishing, the Lord was preparing to meet those disappointed disciples. What they really needed was Jesus, not fish. And after passing through that long night, early in the morning they met Jesus. Jesus was waiting them on the shore. He shouted them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” He already knew their circumstances. Then, he said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” And hearing Jesus’ words, fish might have begun to move to the right side of the boat. Fishermen cast a net and caught large number of fish and were unable to haul the net into the boat.

There are times in our life that we have to go through, catching no fish all night. But even then, every moment of our life is under God’s grace because God is in our life always. Even the time of silence at which nothing happens is also the time of grace at which God is still working.

God was with Thomas during those eight days of dark silence.

After eight days passed, the Lord came again where his disciples gathered. This time, he seemed to come for Thomas. As soon as Jesus came in, he approached Thomas and said, “Thomas, see my hands. Put your finger here and touch this hole. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” What Jesus said were the exact same thoughts as Thomas said to the other disciples eight days ago. That means… Jesus was listening to what Thomas was saying to his fellow disciples! That means… Jesus was listening when Thomas was praying. That means… Jesus knows what’s in Thomas’ heart, all his tears, sighs, and groans.

Psalm 139(vv.1-4) says, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;    you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.”

Do you feel that the Lord is silent to you? Then, please remember! God knows our thoughts! God knows us. And God cherishes each one of us.

Thomas didn’t touch Jesus’ hands. He couldn’t do it. In fact, he didn’t need to touch him. Why? Because Jesus already knew all of his circumstances, heart, conditions, fears, disappointment, and groans. Jesus knew all about him. That’s more than enough for Thomas.

Now, I want all of you to remember what Jesus said to Thomas. Jesus told him, “Stop doubting and believe.” What is seen is not everything. As Paul says, “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”(2 Cor. 4:18) We, who only live extremely limited to one generation, cannot fathom the will and works of God which are being fulfilled throughout all generations. We can only have a glimpse of a tiny part of them which emerge in this one generation we are living.

A long time ago, I heard a story. There was a frog. One day early in the morning, it met a dayfly, and they became good friends. In the evening, as it was getting darker, the frog told the dayfly, “Hey! It’s getting dark now, let’s play tomorrow.” And the dayfly said, “Tomorrow? What is tomorrow?” And the frog answered, “You don’t know what tomorrow is? It’s going to be very dark soon, and then you cannot play anymore. At night, we have to go to bed. We will get up in the morning. That’s tomorrow.” And the dayfly said, “Night? Tomorrow? Are you kidding? I don’t get it. There is no night, no tomorrow.” The next day, the frog couldn’t find the dayfly. A couple of days later, he found a new friend. It was a grasshopper. They had a very good time every day. The frog was very happy because the grasshopper understood when he said “See you tomorrow.” Several weeks later, it was getting cold. One day, the frog told the grasshopper, “Hey! I think it’s time to prepare for a long winter’s sleep. We can’t play in the winter. Let’s meet next year.” With amazement, the grasshopper asked him, “What is a winter? What do you mean by ‘next year’? I haven’t heard about that before.” The frog was amazed too, but kindly explained to him what winter is. But the grasshopper said, “Snow? Winter? Next year? I don’t understand what you are talking about. Hey, friend, there is nothing like winter, nothing like next year.” When the frog woke up next year, he couldn’t find that grasshopper.

The wisdom of a dayfly which lives one day is not like that of a grasshopper. A grasshopper which lives one season cannot understand the thought of a frog. We cannot fathom nor understand our creator’s wisdom, knowledge, and thought. I am sure that we all remember what God said through Isaiah. God said, “My thoughts are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.” (55:9)

That God knows us. That God cares us. That God is with us. And that God helps us. Therefore, in the midst of every circumstance that surrounds us, let us hold on to the promise of God and shout to the Lord in our confession, “You are my Lord and my God.” And by faith, let’s live a victorious life, echoing this confession in every moment of our life…. until our Lord comes again.


香港中文大學 崇基學院禮拜堂
Chung Chi College Chapel, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
主日崇拜時間
Sunday Service Time
星期日上午十時三十分
10:30 a.m., Sunday
地址
Address
香港中文大學崇基學院禮拜堂  
Chung Chi College Chapel, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
崇拜以粵語、普通話及英語即時傳譯進行。
The Sunday Service is conducted simultaneously in Cantonese, Putonghua and English with the help of interpretation.
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