Hi Sumites, Ian here.
Another Easter has passed. Ann led us through Holy Week and I thought I’d share some thoughts on one of the stories we read post Jesus’ resurrection.
Thomas and his doubts
When Jesus first appeared to the group of disciples in the Upper Room on Sunday night, Thomas was missing. Why? The Biblical accounts don’t tell us.
In the days following, Thomas catches up with his friends, only to be informed that he missed the return of Jesus. Incredibly, he doesn’t believe them. Why would his friends mislead him? Why doesn’t Thomas trust their words?
Thomas responds with his well-known statement: ““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.” (John 20:24 NIV)
Soon after, the disciples are all assembled in the Upper Room once again. This time, Thomas is with them. Lo and behold, Jesus turns up (not bothering to use the door. Remember, He’s fully divine now!) Jesus knows what’s going on in Thomas’ heart and not wanting him to feel left out, offers Thomas the same opportunity he gave the others the previous night: come and touch my wounds. Tellingly, he encourages Thomas to “stop doubting and believe.”
We’re all like Thomas
Jesus knew Thomas’ doubt. What does he do? Jesus knows what will eliminate that doubt: touching his wounds. Lovingly, Jesus invited Thomas to draw close, touch and believe.
We all struggle with doubt from time to time, don’t we? When will my spouse come to know the Lord? Will they ever come to know the Lord? What happens if they don’t? Why does God appear to be silent when I cry out for help: for peace in my family, for healing of an illness, for an end to this pandemic?
Like Thomas, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had doubts. Once again, Jesus gave them the best answer he could: Himself.
Jesus knows our doubts. He knows every single one of them. And like Thomas, Jesus invites us to experience … Him. Jesus asks us to do something, well, two things: act and believe.
Thomas missed the initial opportunity to stop doubting because he had separated himself from the others. I often do this too. When I’m fearful, or doubting, or simply fed up with the journey, I retreat. I shut myself off. I get lackadaisical with prayer and Bible reading. I stop listening, I allow myself to be easily distracted and stop being present.
Reading the Word, prayer and Christian community are all examples of acting. The reason these are so important are that Jesus is in all of them. He’s present. We’ll find Jesus in the Word, when we pray (and be still to listen) and when we meet with others (“when two or three are gathered”)
May I encourage each one of us to move towards Jesus. He always has open arms, inviting us to step into them, yes, to touch his wounds and simply, experience his presence.
Which of these three activities: Bible reading, prayer, Christian community do you find most challenging when life becomes difficult? Be wonderful if we could share with each other in the comments below.
Grace and peace, my friends.