Questions are satisfied with answers and good answers create more questions …
24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” 26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”John 20:24 – 27
This scripture lesson is one of my favorite Bible stories. It is the story of the disciple Thomas, who somehow missed the first appearance of Jesus after his resurrection to the disciples. The other disciples told him that they had seen Jesus, and he had been resurrected.
But Thomas responded with words that ring across the ages, words that echo the doubts of many thinking people. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Seeing is believing and so often in our lives we can be a Doubting Thomas!
Even when God meets us in our daily lives and we in faith understand he is in our lives we are still a very cynical and fact-based people. We like for things to not only fit in our logical box of reason, but we want to hold it and put it in and take it out on the other side.
We by our very nature live out “seeing is believing”. This is what we consider prudent and effective for our lives in that it keeps others honest and allows us a false sense of control.
I have come to accept that I am a person who relies heavily on my brain, who uses reason and logic to solve many of the dilemmas of life. I have to ask my questions, and express my doubts, and then I can usually find a way to believe.
For me, faith has become an ability to live the questions, to stand in the uncertainty, to hold on to what I know is true, and to focus on what it is I do believe. It is so much easier to articulate what it is we do not believe – but mature faith asks us to speak about what we do believe.
The dilemma of this text is the resurrection. That is why we read the story of Thomas with an open heart and like Thomas we wonder: Did Jesus literally become resurrected or did someone move the body, or steal the body, or take the body of Jesus away for a proper burial? What exactly did the disciples see when they say they saw Jesus after his death?
We often get consumed in trying to connect Faith and logic but as we said before not everything will fit into that box and that leads us to doubt. Doubt is not bad in some cases where it moves us to ask good questions but if it paralyzes us with worry and fear it will not strengthen our lives, our faith or our witness. Jesus came to Thomas in his doubt and relieved his fear and worry with His presence.
May we too remember Jesus Words when He comes to us in the Holy Spirit, “Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (John 24:27)
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