Grace and Peace to you!
Thomas missed it! (John 20:19, 24-29) He missed that first appearance of the resurrected Jesus with the disciples. Who knows what he was up to, but he wasn’t in the room where it happened. Then later, the testimony of his friends was not enough to persuade him that Jesus was alive again. He was not about to believe just on their say-so, and demanded the same opportunity to see Jesus. He even wanted to inspect his wounds.
A week later Jesus appeared to offer Thomas his opportunity. He urged the startled Thomas not to be distrustful but to believe the truth so he would be equipped for the work ahead. At that, without needing to touch Jesus, Thomas made the climactic confession of the gospel, proclaiming Jesus “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
Thomas’ confession had political overtones. At the end of the first century, when the Gospel was written, the emperor Domitian was frequently addressed as “our Lord and god.” In telling this story, John is reminding readers that only One has the power over life, death, and life beyond death – and it is not Domitian! Rather than that unfortunate Sunday school nickname Thomas got saddled with, he actually offers a heroic witness. Buechner calls him a realist who didn’t believe in fairy tales. At another point Buechner writes “Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”
Thomas’ confession was just the ticket folks needed to reinforce the belief and trust in their hearts as they went into all the world.
Join us in worship Sunday as we explore John 20:19, 24-29 and our word for the week: Doubt. As you ponder the text, a couple of questions may assist you in preparing: “How is believing different than knowing something on the basis of observation? How has doubt informed your faith?”