Date: April 28, 2019
This week we hear the story of Thomas from John’s gospel. This has always been one of my favourites. Of course, it’s not just a story about Thomas. It’s also a story about frightened disciples. So scared, in fact, that they hid behind locked doors. And who can blame them? They had just witnessed the one they confessed to be the Messiah betrayed by one of his own, tried and convicted by both religious and civil authorities and then brutally executed. Little wonder they were afraid, assuming that the next step would be to round up Jesus’ followers. But when Jesus comes on the scene, their fear falls away and is replaced by joy.
This, I think, is the way we assume faith should work. Yes, perhaps you’ve got doubts and questions and fears, but then God arrives and those all fall away, replaced by joy and wonder and, of course, unshakeable faith.
But that’s not the way it works with Thomas. He doubts. He questions. He disbelieves. He’s not satisfied with second-hand reports and wants to see for himself. And again I would say, who can blame him? He was, after all, one of those who saw his Lord and friend mistreated, beaten and then crucified and has probably spent the last few days pulling the broken pieces of his life back together and trying to figure out what to do next.
Thomas finally comes to faith when he first has the chance to voice his doubt and questions and then experiences Jesus for himself. Perhaps the opportunity before us this week is provide the same opportunities for the many Thomases in our world today.