Believe and Obey

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Doubt Yes, Condemnation No

Hey, Give Thomas a Break

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This week’s text is John 20: 19-31. This is the very famous, or infamous if your name is Thomas, story of “doubting” Thomas. I am not here to just defend the honor of all the Thomas’s out there but of all doubters, which is of course all of us.

Thomas is referred to as the Twin, in Greek, Didymus. This is important because the reference to Thomas as the Twin, I think, means that when we look at him, we see our double. We see ourselves. Or at least we should see ourselves in Thomas.

If you think about this text, Thomas gets a bad rap. It is not his fault that he was not there with the rest of the crew when Jesus appeared. When he hears about this amazing experience, all Thomas is asking for is the same level of proof that the other disciples have already been given. When Thomas receives this he immediately and humbly responds “My Lord and My God!” (Verse 28).

Jesus Where We Need Him

What is remarkable about this passage is that there is no condemnation of Thomas from Jesus. He simply gives Thomas what he needs. This is a stellar example of Jesus meeting us where he finds us. Jesus has that amazing ability to find us exactly where we need to be found, and accept us as we are, and give us just what we need. We all have times of doubt. To doubt is not to be lacking in faith, but to be human. True faith is witnessed by perseverance in the face of doubt. Of course, Jesus never keeps us as we are. He does change us, and he certainly changed Thomas who immediately recognizes and proclaims Jesus his Lord and God.

Jesus’ Message for Us

This passage ends with Jesus offering a message to all of us. It has always struck me that in verse 29 when Jesus says “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” That he is like an actor “breaks the fourth wall” and turns to the audience and directs the dialogue to them. He is turning to all of us and giving us such a gracious word; we are so blessed, that we have come to believe, even though we have not seen.

Yet, then again, maybe we have seen Jesus. We see him in every act of compassion, in every act of inclusion, in every act of forgiveness and service. Maybe Jesus is visible to us in our hiding places, if only we will open our eyes and hearts. Maybe in the end we are so blessed because we can see Christ in our world. May we be of as little doubt as Thomas, that when we do see Christ, we respond as strongly as Thomas did: My Lord and my God!

Praise Be to God

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