From the Pastor
It’s the week after Easter, and I’m thinking about Thomas. One of the 12, he’s been saddled with the nickname “Doubting Thomas.” It’s not unfair; he is the one who declared, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Thomas takes his stand as a skeptic- one who will not believe without visible proof.
Thomas does get his proof; Jesus comes back to that upper room the next week, when Thomas is there. He greets the disciples as before, but then he turns his attention toward the doubter. “Come, Thomas, put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not disbelieve, but believe.” It is the kind of earnest plea you might expect from an evangelist: “Do not disbelieve, but believe.” And Thomas, in one of the highest confessions of faith in the New Testament, blurts out: “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus’ responds to Thomas’ declaration of faith with these words: “Have you believed because you have seen me, Thomas? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Immediately after reporting that story, the Apostle John tells us, I could have written a lot more about Jesus, “but what I have written I have written that you might believe that he is who he said he was: the Messiah, the son of God, and that believing you might have life in his name.”
John is laying it on the line. He is saying that everything he has written in his Gospel is written so that we will come to believe. He has done all he knows to do. If you don’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, by this point in the Gospel, then John’s efforts will have been in vain.
John urges us to move from doubt to faith, and that’s why he takes the time to report the story of Thomas’ rise to faith. And, as Jesus suggests, anyone can do it. You don’t have to put your fingers in his hands or your hands in his side. You don’t have to see him standing before you. As John has explained, these things are written so that you may read them and believe.