Reading: John 20. 24-29
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So 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.’
26 A 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!’ 27 Then 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.’ 28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
29 Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ (NIV)
Reflection: My Lord and my God!
Thomas is often known as ‘doubting Thomas’. In a sense, he is stereotyped as such due to the story above. But, it seems a bit unfair to him as all of them actually didn’t believe that Jesus was alive, until Jesus appeared and showed them his scars and nail marks. In that respect, Thomas was not the only one who doubted. So, we may need to see Thomas in a
different aspect, as he was a mixture of doubt and strong belief.
You may remember that he appears three times in John’s gospel. The first time is when Jesus was on his way to raise Lazarus from the dead. At that time, all the other disciples were urging him not to go, because the Jews were trying to stone him. But, Thomas was the only one who insisted they should go with him to his death. Then, he appears again for the
second time, when Jesus was talking about his Father’s house and going there to prepare the place for them, and saying they knew the way. Then, Thomas stood up bluntly with a question, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Here, we see his honesty, his courage, and his passionate belief. Then, this time, one week after Easter, he appears to be doubtful of the resurrection of Jesus. For some reasons, Thomas was absent from the disciples and didn’t see Jesus that night. Now, the other disciples are sharing the wonderful news with him, saying “We have seen the Lord!” But, what proof do they bring? Only their words. Then, who could believe this kind of news only by the words? It is too easy to blame him of his doubt. I think it is our very nature to doubt what we cannot see. And, you may be surprised that the Bible is full of stories of doubters, such as Abraham, Moses, David, John the Baptist, and Peter. They all doubted whether God was there or not, or if God had called them to do certain things.
Thomas doubted. Yet, graciously, that was not the end of the story. He was not left alone doubting. The good news is that Jesus appears again before Thomas, because Jesus knows his doubt and what the whole last week must have been like for Thomas, the one wrestling with his doubts. And, in his appearing, we see, Jesus not rebuke Thomas, nor discipline him
for doubting, but show him evidence, nail marks and scars, for him to move beyond his doubt. That is grace, the amazing grace, which embraces all in his care, and never leaves behind anyone alone doubting.
Then, what’s more amazing is that we see Thomas proclaim “My Lord, and my God!” What it means is that he became the first person to recognise Jesus as God, while the others were still working out that Jesus was risen. He got it, understood it, and proclaimed its meaning.
Jesus who was once just Lord has now become Lord and God. That was an amazing discovery in his faith, graciously revealed to him.
Now then, what challenges us in this story is that we have to believe without seeing. Although Jesus said ‘Blessed are those who believe without seeing me, that’s not easy. We so often struggle to get the right picture on Jesus’ resurrection, and we often find ourselves living in the pre-resurrection ways, still thinking that things are impossible, bleak, and without hope.
Particularly when we face difficulties and hard times, we stumble and start doubting. But,living the resurrection is to see the world through different eyes, to see life, where there appears to be only death, possibility in the impossible, hope and renewal in despair.
In our journey, there are times we will be challenged and we may doubt. But, we don’t need to feel discouraged. The very good news is that we will not be left doubting, but will be visited by Jesus in his Spirit, when we continue to search for truth.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, meet with us now through your Spirit, reminding us of your living presence and risen power. In a world, where so much questions faith, denies love, and threatens hope, may your resurrection life flow within us, convincing us of your eternal purpose: the blessings you hold in store – imperishable, unfading, kept in heaven – and may that assurance sustain us now and always. Amen