In this meeting, both discipler and disciple will go on a scriptural journey through some crucial points in the life of one of the more overlooked disciple makers in the Bible: the apostle Thomas. So grab your Bibles and dig in!
SAINT THOMAS CHRISTIANS
By Phil Wiseman
READ John 11:1–16. Notice Thomas’ zeal—he’s willing to go to Judea and risk being killed for Jesus’ sake!
READ John 14:1–6. Here Thomas is portrayed as confused and unable to grasp Jesus’ point.
READ John 20:20–25. This takes place immediately after Jesus’ resurrection. At this point, the zeal has totally faded, and now we see why Thomas has received the nickname that he’s most known by: “Doubting Thomas.”
READ John 20:26–29. Thomas finally sees the resurrected Christ, puts his hands in his side, and believes.
Once he finally believes, Thomas cries out, “My Lord and my God!” This cry was more than just an excited acclamation of faith. An ancient historian recorded the fact that the emperor Domitian—who was no friend to Christians—demanded to be referred to as “Our Lord and Our God.” Additionally, we’ve found the remains of what NT Wright calls a “positively enormous statue of Domitian” in the ancient city of Ephesus, which is where many believe the book of John was written. Thomas took the propaganda of the mighty emperor, in the shadow of his statue, and applied it not to Domitian, but to Jesus Christ.
So what does all this mean?
John is telling us—through Doubting Thomas—that Jesus is above everything, even the mighty emperor Domitian. He’s using Domitian’s own slogan to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ. He’s also showing us that in that moment, something fundamentally changed in Thomas. His commitment to Jesus was once as unpredictable as the waves on the ocean. Now, he’s seen the risen Lord—and has placed him above all else.
We don’t hear from Thomas again in the Bible (aside from a couple brief mentions of his name). However, we can be sure something big changed for him in that moment. Why? Because apparently Thomas traveled east and planted a church in India which still exists today. The Syrian Christians of India trace their history back to this apostle, who left all he knew to travel to a distant land and make disciples. 2000 years of a disciple making legacy: not bad for a doubter, is it?
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Syrian Christians of India, or also known as the Saint Thomas Christians,
1. Do you doubt your ability to disciple someone? What does Thomas’ story have to say about that?
2. Have you had a “my Lord and my God” sort of moment, where you finally surrender everything to God?
3. If you have no idea who you might disciple, what specific kinds of prayers do you need to start praying regularly?
ASSIGNMENT: Complete the Looking Back practice, located below. Also, begin to pray about who you will invite into a discipling relationship, if you have not already made a disciple during your own journey. (You’ll invite someone onto the Pathway before Meeting 10.4.)
By Megan Koch
“The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him.” ― Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way
As we transition from one season to the next, it is incredibly helpful to look back to the beginning of the journey to appreciate how far we’ve come. Change happens slowly; we don’t always notice how much God has done. Take out your journal and any materials you’ve kept with you throughout the Pathway. Use this guide to review all nine of the previous modules and remember the practices and outcomes you’ve completed along the way. Take some notes in your journal for each module and come to your next meeting ready to discuss it with your discipler.
Here are some helpful questions to consider for each module:
What were the high points for this module? Why?
Where do you still have unanswered questions or frustrations?
What did Jesus say to you through these practices and conversations?
Did God ever use everyday life experiences to illustrate the heart of the module and teach you something?
What did your discipler give you through this module’s discussions?
Think back to “before” this module and after. Are you different? How?
MODULE 1: PRAYER
The disciple establishes a meaningful rhythm of daily prayer.
• Explored practicing a conversational relationship with God.
• Tried out many different practices of prayer.
• Created a daily prayer rhythm.
MODULE 2: GUIDANCE
With the help of a guide, the disciple discerns their unique role within God’s story.
• You created a timeline of the high and low points of your life.
• You established a life theme.
MODULE 3: SELF-DENIAL
The disciple learns the value of denying themselves for the sake of God and others.
• You read and discussed Henri Nouwen’s The Selfless Way of Christ.
• You practiced fasting.
MODULE 4: SCRIPTURE
The disciple learns the grand narrative of the Bible and forms a daily rhythm of scripture reading and study.
• You practiced interactive scripture study and experimented with practices like
Inductive Bible Study, and Lectio Divina.
MODULE 5: CONFESSION
The disciple understands and practices a life of confession within community.
• You explored the idea of Holy Confrontation.
• You practiced a nightly prayer of examen.
• You practiced forgiveness.
MODULE 6: GENEROSITY
The disciple embodies the freedom of generosity.
• You studied the parable of the Good Samaritan.
• You completed an addiction inventory.
• You explored giving to your local church.
MODULE 7: AWARENESS
The disciple is aware of God’s presence in all things and is eager to engage with him.
• You looked for God in everyday life.
• You considered a biblical view of work, and finding God in your daily work.
• You looked for God in rest.
• You learned about restorative prayer.
MODULE 8: HOSPITALITY
The disciple realizes the joy of creating belonging in the family of God.
• You practiced sharing your faith.
• You learned to look for people of peace and engage with them.
• You learned about the link between evangelism and biblical hospitality.
MODULE 9: LIVING JUSTLY
The disciple commits to being a tangible part of the solution for an injustice in the world.
• You studied the biblical concept of shalom.
• You processed Tim Keller’s sermon, Generous Justice.
• You established your unique call to engage with justice right now.