I hope and pray this letter finds you well as we continue into the Easter season. Doesn’t it feel much better now with lighter nights and improving weather? Do you ever have doubts, have you ever been told something and replied unless I see the evidence myself, I will not believe it? I remember once my father not believing the gas bill and he worked for British Gas at the time! It is quite normal to have doubts from time to time, or to question things, in fact that is healthy. Today we examine the account of Thomas after the resurrection. I do feel sorry for Thomas as he received bad press for asking probing questions and wanting to be sure in his own mind. When someone does not believe something, we tend to call them a ‘doubting Thomas’ after the poor disciple! The reading this week comes from John 20: 19-31.
The disciples were fearful of reprisals from the authorities after the resurrection of Jesus and were keeping a low profile by locking themselves away. Presumably, they were meeting together that first evening of the week to discuss a plan of action for the next steps going forwards. Unexpectedly, Jesus then appears amongst them and declares “peace be with you,” He then begins to show them His hands and feet to prove that it is Him and demonstrate that He has risen. John records at this point that the disciples were overjoyed to see Him. Can you imagine the joy and the relief that they must have felt? Jesus informs them that He is sending them, and He breathes the Holy Spirit on them. This is a kind of commissioning, a sense of empowering them for what lies ahead. Jesus informs them that they have the power to forgive people, again presumably in the Father’s name.
Now there is one disciple who, for whatever reason, is not present and when He returns, the other disciples explain that they have seen Jesus. Thomas is not convinced and tells them all quite clearly that ‘unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my fingers where the nails were………and hand into His side, I will not believe.’ So, it is quite clear what Thomas is thinking. However, a week later, there is a repetition and Jesus appears to them again, despite the doors being locked this time too. Immediately after the same initial greeting He invites Thomas to put his finger into the nail marks and his hand into His side. Thomas then has the realisation that this is Jesus and exclaims “my Lord and my God.” Jesus explains to him that because he has seen with his own eyes, he has believed but blessed are those people who have not seen and yet still believe.
I really find encouragement in this passage because firstly it admits it is okay to have doubts and question and that is perfectly normal behaviour and part of the human condition. But also, that for those of us who have not seen Jesus and yet still believe we are blessed through doing so. Let us claim this truth for ourselves and use it when we are talking with relatives, friends, and neighbours about the truth of Jesus Christ, who He was and what He came to do. We are now firmly in the season of hope, let us embrace it as we look to longer days, brighter weather and increasingly more fellowship and interaction together. Let us use this encouragement and ask God that He would bring new people into our churches, Thomas’, and all and that we would welcome them with open arms and share this amazing Good News.
May our Lord Jesus Christ, our Eternal Redeemer, bless us now and always,