Lectionary Sunday – John 20:19-31 “Doubting Thomas”
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were 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 his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “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.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Jesus has already appeared to Mary Magdalene when he shows up in Act 1. He shows them his hands and his feet, then breathes on them, giving them the Holy Spirit and giving them the power to forgive sins. Both are fairly radical experiences, as only a select few in the Old Testament had experienced the Spirit of God and even fewer, only God, had the power to forgive sins.
It’s interesting that John writes of Jesus showing the disciples his hands and his side. Even with the help of the Holy Spirit they are given the gift of being able to see the wounds and believe that Jesus has risen.
Thomas says he won’t believe it until he sees it. Yesterday my friends and I met up at the zoo for the morning. We stopped at the gift shop and I selected a t-shirt for my goddaughter. When she looked at my credit card, the cashier asked for my photo id. She was not going to sell me a t-shirt until I proved that I was who I said that I was.
Thomas gets a bum wrap – he isn’t going to believe that someone who was dead is now alive. His friends have seen the wounds and have received the Holy Spirit. They still don’t completely understand what to do, but they have had a little more experience with the resurrected Jesus.
So what, Jesus meets Thomas where Thomas is a week later.
Some of us have had our moment of touching and seeing Jesus’ wounds and knowing his resurrection power in our life already.
Some of us haven’t had that moment yet.
Some of us are in the midst of having that moment right now, slowly or quickly coming to realize that the resurrected Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives can make us fall to the floor with a “My Lord and My God.”
It’s not a contest.
It’s not a race.
God meets us where we are.