Doubt and Sight
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. John 20.24
Thomas was not there. He doubted that Jesus had been raised from the dead. So, often he is called doubting Thomas. While that might not be fair, John records this incident for a reason. For John seeing is believing.
Thomas was by no means weak. In John 11 Thomas is the one disciple who speaks up when Jesus wants to go to Galilee to see Lazarus. The others know that the Jews are seeking to kill Jesus (and his followers, they presume). It is Thomas who says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him (John 11.16)." Thomas is ready to die with Jesus.
Things get much more real in the Garden. There Thomas is not so ready to die. He flees with the other disciples. Where is Thomas while Peter denies and while Jesus dies on the cross? We are not told. Maybe he was there, maybe not. Regardless, while all the other ten were cowering in the upper room for fear of the Jews, Thomas was out. Before Jesus appeared to them all the disciples doubted. Not one believed. They did not understand when Jesus told them He had to die and on the third day be raised from the dead.
But because Thomas was not there, he doubts the longest. Finally, eight days later, Jesus appears when Thomas is there. Thomas is met with the real, physical, resurrected Jesus. Thomas can touch Jesus and believe that this Jesus is real. Then John goes on to record Jesus as saying, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20.29)."
Is Jesus talking about you? You haven't seen the physical resurrected Jesus. Well, at least you weren't in the locked upper room. You have seen Jesus. As Thomas saw, as Nathaniel saw, as John himself saw; so you have seen. Seeing is believing, after all. You have seen Jesus in the way that John describes in his Gospel.
You have seen Jesus in that water welling up to eternal life. You have been born again of water and the Spirit. You have received the heavenly bread which came down from heaven. You have received the lifeblood of the Christ, flowing from His pierced side. You have seen Jesus in the Divine Service through the Means of Grace. What's more, you have received Jesus.
Jesus has come to you personally. He dispelled the sin and unbelief of your heart. He forgave you your sins. He created you a new. He gave you life in His Name. This is why John records the incident with Thomas, so show you that Jesus comes to you through extraordinary means. In ways that your sin hardened heart would never believe, Jesus comes to you.
So go where Jesus is found. Be in worship. There Jesus is, for you. There He forgives your sins and grants you strength as you live in this sinful world.
In the Name of Jesus,
Mon. – 2 Sam 19-20; Lk 18:1-23
Family Prayer for the Week: