The Doubting Thomas in All of us
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him; “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “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 it.” A week later his disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said; “Peace be with you! Then he said to Thomas, “ Put your finger here; see ,my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God!”
It seems appropriate that on Mercy Sunday, the second Sunday in Easter, we should hear the gospel regarding the apostles’ encounter with the risen Christ. Poor Thomas, ever after to be known as “doubting Thomas”, has become for me a sign of God’s love, understanding and mercy for us all. After hearing the reading in church, I sat quietly wondering what I would do or how I would feel if I were Thomas. Would I believe my fellow apostles? I decided I would, simply because we had all had prayed, traveled and spent so much time together with Jesus. Then why did I feel upset? My doubt had come into play in the form of jealousy. Why did Jesus decide to appear when I wasn’t there? Did he like the others more than me? Were they more important, intelligent, and faithful? I felt uninvited to the party. Maybe Thomas felt the same way. He wanted to share the same personal encounter with the risen Christ as the others had. He wanted Jesus to give him His peace, and show him His wounds just as he had for the other apostles.
Praise God that a week later, Jesus did reappear and speak directly to Thomas in witness of the others. “Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.”
My take –away is this; I need to stop doubting God’s love for me, and believe in this love because of the miracle of Jesus. He died for the apostles as surely as he died for me. His scars bear witness to the forgiveness of our sins and the guarantee of his mercy and eternal love for each one of us.
The story of Thomas serves as a reminder to us all that we are not left out or forgotten. In order to shore up Thomas’s faith, Jesus made a special visit. Through the deliberate visitation to the apostles while Thomas was gone, Jesus tells each one of us who doubt whether we are good enough, or whether God loves us, that He can and will be with us personally no matter what we “feel” or what we are going through. Jesus also assures us through Thomas, that we need not doubt His return for each and every one of us.
Where is your doubt lurking?
“I do believe,, help my unbelief” Mark 9:24