This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on June 15, 1976
20:24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 20:25The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.
20:26And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 20:27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 20:28Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 20:29Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
On Page 245 we have the appearance of Jesus to the disciples while Thomas is absent. Then when the disciples try to tell Thomas about what it is, he resists them. In verse 25, Thomas becomes the symbol for unbelief. Ordinarily, in his true meaning, he stands for understanding; but, you see, the negative aspect of understanding is the opposite, unbelief. So he will not believe. Now this is taken care of in John 20:26-31.
Now, notice here the difference between Jesus' attitude toward Thomas and His attitude toward Mary: "I haven't ascended yet", but He is going to allow Thomas to touch Him, because the symbolism is different, you see. Jesus is still teaching, teaching, teaching. He is teaching us again that, even while insistence upon limiting yourself, limiting your understanding to believing only what you see, is your right; is your prerogative, if that is what you insist on; and you will receive a certain amount of satisfaction for that attitude. But there is something greater if you will.
You can go beyond that self-imposed limitation and be greatly blessed by it, and that is to begin practicing the great, mysterious, unexplainable privilege called believing in things that are not seen yet but things that are known. There is a big difference between believing in what you know and only believing in what you have already seen. Be honest, folks. Have I accomplished anything by believing what I see because I see it? I am still the same old me, maybe even a little sloppier, because I have done something that is not doing anything, just believing what I see. How do we avoid this? How do we keep our growth and unfoldment in process? By making effort. Believing what you see is no effort. It is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It is status quo. It is inertia; and inertia, sooner or later, will degenerate into stagnation. But to make an effort, even a misguided effort, is a conditioner; and effort results in change or reward or blessings. So to believe in what you know rather than what you see is one of the most blessed accomplishments a person can achieve.
Notice He does not scold or criticize him; He just tells him something better, that is all, "Blessed is they that have not seen and yet have believed." Now you will possibly have students that will challenge this. They will say things like, "Do we just have to go around believing anything that is offered to our imagination or to our contemplation? Do we just go around believing anything we want to believe?" No, we don't believe that. That is not what Jesus taught.
Jesus saw Thomas as the symbol for understanding. Understanding is the faculty that expresses the divine idea of knowingness. You see, you have this faculty, and its whole purpose is to express through you the divine idea of knowing. It will do its job, but it needs to be prodded or quickened in many cases, by an initiatory act on our part called willing to believe. Learn what the divine ideas are, learn the Truth principles, and then believe in them before they are demonstrated.
Text of the original transcript at the 3rd paragraph of p.319 through the 2nd paragraph of p.320.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-16-2014