Thursday, October 1 John 20:26-29

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.” John 20:26-29

Matthew leaves his “and some doubted” hanging out there but John brings closure to the Thomas story. Jesus shows up and shows off his scars.

Look. Touch. Believe.

But notice how Jesus keeps the tension of faith alive? He challenges Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me?” Just as he has throughout the gospel of John, Jesus questions those who believe because of the “signs” rather than trusting the One who is signified.

Then Jesus blesses those who have “not seen” and yet have “come to believe.” Would that include us? Or do we still seek signs, do we still seek to believe?

I understand what it feels like to “come to believe.” For me, I can say that it wasn’t about “signs” but that wouldn’t really be true. I had spent a day in the company of people who came together as the people of God. I listened to them sing. I saw the smiles on their faces. When they prayed they really seemed to be doing something other than talking to themselves, convincing themselves in a massive show of “group think” that they really weren’t wasting their time on idle myths.

That day came at the end of a long long process of dipping my toes in the faith and then walking back to the beach. It came after years of seeing Christian people acting in both wonderful and questionable ways. It came after the witness of Sunday School teachers, friends, songs in the air.

I still wonder how it is that someone tips over the edge from trusting their doubts to doubting their doubts, from knowing about Jesus to trusting Jesus. All I can see for sure is that the Holy Spirit has got to be involved – healing our blindness, so that the ever-present signs of God suddenly appear to be just that, signs of God.

When the once blind man was questioned by the authorities in John 9, all he can finally say is, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” Maybe that is all we can finally do, those of us living the tension of faith, those of us committed to following Jesus even though there are those who think WE are the ones who ought to be committed for trusting such childish stories – maybe all we can finally do is tell our truth. We believe and we act on that belief in our lives.

Notice also that all the disciples are still gathered in that upper room. It has been a week. We don’t necessarily need to read anything into that, although we might wonder if they are just back home for dinner or if they have been hiding in their fear all week long. It is all still so new to them.

All we know for sure is that they didn’t stay in that room forever. That isn’t where the game was to be played. And we know as well that St. Thomas has long been honored as the apostle who carried the faith to India. He believed, and he blessed those who could not see.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you move through people’s lives in mysterious ways. You give us what we need, and what we need most is a trusting heart and a willing spirit. Come to us when faith grows hazy and doubt looms large. Fill us with a holy discontent, that we might not hide in the safety of upper rooms but go into the world as your followers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Thursday, October 1 John 20:26-29”

  1. LC Says:

    Thank you for this Pastor Kerry.

  2. John Bowers Says:

    I struggle too often with belief and anxious doubt. The witness of gathered friends and others like you helps bolster my faith as we read, discus and pray. Thank you for sharing your faith and doubts. It really helps. john

  3. john Says:

    I genuinely enjoyed reading through this post.Many thanks.

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