Doubting Thomas


Praising Puppets


 Scripture:    John 20:19-31     


Memory Verse:   “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 CEV



·       Even though we have not seen Jesus, we can believe in him.

·       It’s normal to have doubts, but you can ask for help.

·       Jesus helps us to have faith.



The objectives of this workshop are to teach the children about believing things without seeing them, about feeling comfortable with doubts, and about where to go with doubts and questions.  Lastly, it lets the children know that God and Jesus are a big resource to help us with doubts and belief.



Welcome and Introductions:


1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your nametag. Make sure the children are wearing nametags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.

2.     Explain the purpose of this workshop:  Today we will use puppets to learn about faith in God and Jesus.  What is faith?   Answer should have something about believing.  Our memory verse gives us one definition of faith.  Let’s all read or say it.  (Refer to poster or handout.)    “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 CEV)  Before we do puppets, we’re going to read the Bible story for today.




Scripture/Bible Story:


Ask the children to open their CEV Bibles, if they have them, to John 20:19.  The workshop leader should prepare a reading with emphasis and energy and excitement as appropriate. Find the text with the kids and ask them to follow along. Set up the story in an animated way, then read with as much drama as you can get away with.


Warm-Up Discussion and Questions:  This passage is from the book of John.  Does anyone know in what part of the Bible we would find the book of John?  New Testament   John is one of four books that have a special name--does anyone know what they are called?  Gospel  And what does Gospel mean?  Good News.  Does anyone know what the other three Gospels are?  Matthew, Mark, Luke. Who and what are the Gospels about?   These books are about the life of Jesus and the good news that he died so our sins would be forgiven.  Our passage today is about Thomas, who was one of the Twelve Apostles.  It takes place very soon after Jesus died and was raised from the dead. 


Read the Scripture Passage John 20:19-31 from the CEV :

Jesus Appears to His Disciples
2019On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Jesus Appears to Thomas
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


Example of Discussion after the Passage: 


·       Why do you think that Jesus showed the disciples his hands and side?  He wanted them to see his nail holes and the wound where Roman soldiers had pierced his side with a spear.  This would prove to them that he was Jesus.   

·       I wonder why the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus just by looking in his face?  He obviously looked different, probably because he had a new body, but one that still bore the scars of his death.  At this point, which of the 12 disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead without seeing him?  NONE!  The others (women) had seen Jesus on the evening of that first day of the week. 

·       Who was not part of that group of disciples?  Thomas Did he believe his friends, the other Apostles?  No  What did Jesus do for Thomas so that he would believe that he, Jesus, had risen?  Exactly what Thomas asked—showed him the nail and spear marks.  Did Thomas then believe, based on what he had seen?  Yes  Does that make you think that Thomas must have seen something very convincing—something that was true?  Yes 

·       Since then, how many people have believed that Jesus rose from the dead without seeing the risen Jesus and his nail and spear marks?  Millions of Christians have believed without seeing.  Do you know what we call that kind of belief?  Faith  Why did Jesus come and show Thomas what he asked for?   Many reasons—he wanted Thomas to believe and he wanted it written down.  Verse 31 says, But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


(Don’t bring this up, but if anyone asks, Didymus means “twin.”  Thomas was a twin.)


Puppet Application:


Note:  There are 4 skits with 4 characters in each.  You may have to repeat one or more of the skits to give everyone a chance to perform.   


  1. Divide the class into groups of 4 children for each skit. 
  2. Give out copies of the script to each child.   The scripts can be highlighted for individual parts.
  3. The puppets can already be out on a table.  Let the children line up to choose a puppet.  The puppets don’t have to match the parts they play.
  4. You have several options about who can read the parts.  You may pre-record the entire skit on cassette tape before Sunday.  You can choose a narrator (use a shepherd or workshop leader) to read all the puppet parts while children act out with the puppets.  Older children. You may also allow each child to read and act out his/her own puppet part after they have rehearsed their lines.
  5. Allow the groups 5 minutes to practice their script.  Space out all the adults in the room to help with the script practice.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should help with the scripts, perhaps even “speaking” the voices while the children act them out.  If one child is uncomfortable with reading, and you have planned for children to speak their parts, one of the adults present can read the words for this child.
  6. After each skit, have the puppet operators return to the audience to discuss what happened in the skit as a group.  Apply the skit to the concepts being taught in this workshop.  See suggested discussion questions below.
  7. If you have to repeat a skit to give everyone a turn, you may hold the discussion until the last time you have repeated the skit.


Skit 1 Discussion Questions:

In this skit, Sarah wanted to see the butterflies come out of cocoons for herself or she wouldn’t believe it really happened.  Who does this remind you of in our Bible story?  Thomas  Was Sarah going to believe it if her friends told her it happened?  She wasn’t really sure.  How would you finish this sentence:  Sarah did not seem to have much ______ in what her friends told her.  faith  Did Thomas believe his friends the disciples—did he have faith in what they said?  No.  What problems will you have if you have to see everything for yourself to believe it’s true?  Might miss out on things, might not learn as much, might not know as much.  Who did the teacher suggest you believe?  honest people  Who might you believe?  parents, teachers, minister, good friends…


Skit 2 Discussion Questions:

What is an eye witness?  Someone who sees something and can tell about it.  Were there any in this story?  Not totally—each witness had seen a small part of what happened.  The driver was probably the only one, and he wasn’t able to talk.  The Police Office needed to find out what happened.  What did he do?  Probably lots of different answers (asked for eye witnesses, asked them questions, looked for how everything fit together, tried to figure out what had happened, what was true), but try to draw to conclusion that he had to believe, trust or have faith in what other people had seen.  Did all the pieces make sense and fit together nicely?  Yes  When something is true, does it usually make sense?  Yes 


Let’s think about how this is like the Thomas story.  Was the Police Officer like Thomas?  No, he didn’t have to see it for himself.  Is it wrong to want to see things for yourself?  No, but sometimes we just can’t.  What if there had been another person there who told the Police Officer that he saw a man run away from the car.   Police Officer would have figured out that it was not true.  Remember that he was able to find out that the man was at the hospital.  


The truth fits in with other details.  Usually a lie doesn’t make sense!  What do you know is true in our Bible story?  Jesus rose from the dead.  Who are our eye witnesses?  The Twelve Apostles, including Thomas, women and some other early Christians. How do we know what they saw?  It is written in the Bible.   


Skit 3 Discussion Questions: 

What was happening in this skit?  Puppet didn’t understand something in the Bible.  None of us were around to see the things happen that are in the Bible, and they happened a long time ago in another country where things were very different.  Sometimes it is hard to understand without help.  Where did the puppet go for help?  Bible itself, Faith Quest teacher, parents, minister, to God through prayer.  These are all people and places where you can go for help.  Each of these people would love for you to ask them for help.  In Faith Quest we try to make the Bible easier to understand and to make learning about it fun!


Skit 4 Discussion Questions:

Who here believes the sun is going to come up before actually seeing it come up?  Raise your hand too—we don’t want to start some mass panic!!  Of course it is.  How would you explain why you believe that it will if one of your friends asked you?  Encourage at least a few to answer—anything is right.  That’s the way some people are about their belief or faith in Jesus.  They just accept that Jesus rose from the dead to get rid of our sins without seeing it happen, and they don’t really know how to explain why they believe it.  Some believe it because it is in the Bible.  Some believe it because they can feel it in their heart.  This is the kind of faith that Jesus told Thomas would be blessed.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."   Did Jesus think it was wrong for Thomas to need to see him?  No, Thomas said he needed to see him to believe and Jesus showed up for him.  Jesus is like that—he gives us what we need to believe in him.  If you don’t believe that Jesus died and was risen again, I encourage you to pray and ask for help believing this.  And when you get an answer to this prayer, please share it with someone at FaithQuest—either a Shepherd or a Workshop Leader.



If you have time, you can review the concepts covered:

·       Even though we have not seen Jesus, we can believe in him.

·       It’s normal to have doubts, but you can ask for help.

·       Jesus helps us to have faith



Reflection Time (This is a long lesson—you may not get to this):

Pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. Tell the older students to write down what they thought was the most interesting part of the workshop today or something they learned for the first time today.  Tell the younger students (or stumped older students) to draw a picture of Thomas touching Jesus’ nail and spear marks.  The workshop leader(s) and shepherd(s) can help parents by writing a caption on the picture.



Prayer:  Write your own or use this example.  Thank you God for raising Jesus from the dead so that our sins will be forgiven.  Thank you for helping us to believe this good news about Jesus.  


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.     Pray that God will guide you to teach what God wants taught during this workshop and scripture passage.  Pray for a loving and patient attitude toward the children.  Pray for time management during the workshop.

2.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study. 

3.     Please practice reading the scripture passage out loud several times.

4.     Make at least 6 or 7 copies of each script.  You can highlight one character in each skit. 

5.     Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you will know where everything is located.

6.     Make a poster of the memory verse to hang on the wall. 

7.     Decide if you are going to pre-record the scripts with a tape recorder/boom .

8.     Prepare a closing prayer.


Suggested Supply List


Copies of the script

Police Officer props (2-way radio, hat, badge, maybe dark shirt)

Cassette tape, if you pre-record the scripts

Poster for memory verse




Notes supplied by Lori Houck for curriculum writers' Bible study











Teacher:  “This month we are going to watch caterpillars make cocoons and come out as butterflies.


Sarah:  “I have to see that to believe it!”


Tyler:  “Why would you have to see that?  Everyone knows that happens.  It’s in books—it was even in the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


Sarah:  “But I’ve never seen it, so how can I be sure it really happens that way?”


Tyler:  “When I used to read that book, my mother said it really happened.”


Ryan:  “What if you’re sick that day the butterflies come out of their cocoons?  Are you not going to believe it unless you see it yourself?  What if we tell you we saw it happen?”


Sarah:  “I don’t know.  I’d like to believe it if you all saw it and said it was true, but I’d still feel better about it if I saw it happen.  I’d also like to be able to tell other people I had seen it happen.”


Ryan:  “What’s the point if nobody believes you unless they see it themselves?”


Teacher:  “Great discussion, children.  Seeing something for yourself is a great way to learn, but there is so much to learn that sometimes we just have to believe what other people have seen and tell us is true.  Just make sure the people you believe are honest.”






In this skit, an adult will play the Police Officer, standing in front of the puppet stage.  The adult needs a 2-way radio and can wear a Police Officer hat, maybe a dark shirt and wear a badge to make the play more realistic.  Another adult can play the radio person with the other 2-way radio. 


Police Officer:  “Hello, I’m a Police Officer.  Someone called the Police Station to report a problem.  I just arrived and found a car wrecked into that fire hydrant (point away from stage), and there is water spraying everywhere.  The car has no driver.  If the driver who did this ran away to keep from getting into trouble, he’ll be in even more trouble when I find him.  He’s supposed to stay here at the accident.  I need help figuring out what happened.  Are there any eye witnesses?”


Boy:  “I got here after it happened.  The driver looked asleep, so I ran home and told my Mom.  Then I came back here, and the man was gone.  My Mom said she’d come up here to help.” 


Police Officer:   “Did anyone see anything else?”


Wet Man:  “I was sleeping on that bench near the fire hydrant, and I started dreaming that it was raining, then I woke up and saw that it was the fire hydrant spraying water on me.  The driver of the car was passed out.  Then an ambulance took the driver away.”


Mom, just arriving:  “Hello.  I’m his Mom.  I called 911.  They said they would call the Police Station and an ambulance.”


Police Officer(on radio):  Officer Green here, could you check on an accident victim brought in by an ambulance from Main Street?  Get back to me, please…  Little Girl, did you see anything?”


Little Girl:  “No, I didn’t.  I was chasing my runaway cat, and he ran out into the street.  I was following him, then I heard a loud squealing noise and a big boom noise.”


Mom:  “Little Girl, did you look before you ran out into the street?  Did you run in front of a car?”


Little Girl:  “Well…I didn’t see a car.  I was looking at my cat.”


Radio Person (off stage):  “Officer Green, we have a report of an accident victim being delivered at the hospital from that location.  He’s OK, but he’s not able to talk right now.”


Police Officer:  “OK, I think I have the whole story now.  A man was driving down the street.  The Little Girl chased her cat into the street in front of him.  The man braked and swerved so he wouldn’t hit the girl and her cat.  That made a loud squealing sound.  Then the car hit the fire hydrant, which made a loud boom, knocked it over, and the hole in the ground starting spraying water.  This boy came up, saw the hurt man and went home to tell his mother.  His mother called 911, who called the Police Station and the ambulance.  This sleeping man was just waking as the ambulance was about to take the driver away.  The driver did a good thing by not hitting the Little Girl, and he did not run away.  He was hurt and was taken to the hospital. Thanks for your help.”








Puppet1:  “This Bible verse is hard for me.  I don’t understand it.”


Puppet2:  “Get your Bible, and read the Bible verses around that verse—for a few verses before it and a few verses after it.”


(Puppet 1 walks off stage.  Then comes back.)


Puppet1:  “I understand more about the story, but it’s still confusing.”


Puppet3:  “Ask your FaithQuest teacher for help.”


(Puppet 1 walks off stage.  Then comes back.)


Puppet1:  “It makes a little more sense now—the teacher told me what all the words meant, but I still have some questions.”


Puppet4:  “Ask your parents.”


(Puppet 1 walks off stage.  Then comes back.)


Puppet1:  “My parents helped me understand what it means to them, but I still have some questions.”


Puppet2:  “Ask the minister.”


(Puppet 1 walks off stage.  Then comes back.)


Puppet1:  “I think I’m starting to get it.  The minister told me some things about the history behind the verse and what people who read the Bible all the time think it means. It made it a lot clearer.”


Puppet3: “There is still another place you can go for answers.”


Puppet1:  “What is that?”


Puppet3:  “You can pray to God in Jesus’ name to help you understand the verse.”


Puppet4: “That should definitely be a very complete answer!”






Natalie:  “That’s a pretty sunset.”


Hailey:  “I wonder what the sunrise will look like tomorrow.”


Austin:  “How do you know the sun will come up tomorrow?”


Samuel:  “Of course it will come up.”


Austin:  “How do you know that?”


Hailey:  “Why do you have to question everything?  It will come up because it always does.”


Austin:  “I know it always has, but how do we know that it always will?”


Samuel:  “I’m sure some scientist who studies these things would tell us if it wasn’t, and then it would be on TV.”


Natalie:  “Whatever.  I just believe it will.”