April 16, 2023
In this season after Easter, give some thought to these quotes:
If everything Jesus did was written down, the world could not contain the books that would be written. - John 21:25
He has risen, he is not here. These few words was the greatest message the world has ever heard. Those few words changed the history of the universe, darkness and despair died; hope and anticipation were born in the hearts of men. - Billy Graham
Blessed will those be who believe even though they have not seen.
So here we are. One week after Easter. How was this week for you? How are you today, exactly one week after Easter? Is the excitement of Easter still in you? Has it begun to fade? Has it vanished all together? I ask these questions because in our text today, we find the disciples exactly one week after Easter. Before dealing fully with how we feel, let’s begin to understand how these disciples of Christ are doing… one week after Easter.
This catches us up with the heart of today’s lesson. One week after Easter, the very same room where Jesus appeared before… Eleven disciples sit in excitement (however I find it quite funny they are still behind locked doors) but yes, I imagine them sitting in excitement. And Thomas… probably sitting with his arms crossed, ankles crossed, and a frown upon his face. And yet… if every one of us was honest with themselves, we would see that Thomas is not the loneliest Christian ever. I would venture a guess, that every one of us at some point has walked side by side with Thomas in the state of doubt. It is our very nature to doubt what we cannot see. It might as well be us sitting there with the eleven… arms crossed, ankles crossed, and a deep frown.
Believing without seeing. Thomas doubted… yes. And yet, which of us can claim to throw the first stone at him. Which of us has never had the smallest bit of doubt? Perhaps we have looked to the trouble of the world, the pain, the injustice, the senseless violence, and have thought, “How can a good God let bad things happen?” Perhaps we have been challenged by competing beliefs of many different religions. Or perhaps we are just like Thomas, and struggle to believe the words of others, wishing we could have first-hand knowledge for ourselves.
Luckily for Thomas and for us, that is not the end of the text. Thomas is not left sitting there doubting. The text now turns to him with a wonderful message of grace. Jesus appears in the room with all of the disciples, and he directly addresses Thomas. Now, Jesus does not lecture him, chastise him, or discipline him for doubting, instead Jesus wished him peace, and in his mercy, gave Thomas that which he needed to move beyond his doubt.
And here is the truly marvelous thing about this text. It is at this moment that something new happens. All throughout the book of John, Jesus is Lord… to his disciples, to Mary Magdalene, to all his followers… and now and only now, Thomas proclaims, “My Lord and my God.” He gets it. Not only does he get it, but he gets in a deeper and much more profound way. Jesus who was once just Lord, has now become Lord and God.
One week after Easter. One short week. In that crowded little room, door locked, sitting with the other 11… Where do you sit? Do you sit with Thomas, as one seeking? Do you sit with the 11, still excited and buzzing? Perhaps you sit on your own, neither excited nor doubting. Wherever you sit today, I encourage you to look to Thomas not as a bad example to be avoided, but rather as our representative in that room – we are the ones who have other people’s words and not first-hand experience. And Jesus stands before us inviting us to see the wounds and touch his side, so that we may know the truth, and stand again with Thomas to say, “My Lord and my God.”