Have you ever missed out on something really, really big because you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time? Some of you will remember that actress Christine Lahti missed receiving her Golden Globe award for Chicago Hope because when it was announced she was….wait for it….in the bathroom. That could so easily be me.
Our scripture today takes us to the evening of the Resurrection. The disciples had scattered and were hiding behind a locked door in a house. Then the best thing happened! Jesus joined them. Note that the first words out of his mouth as our resurrected Lord were, “Peace to you.”
John 20 (The Message)
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.
20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
Peace to you…peace to you. Boy, we need to hear those words right now. The disciples were able to see Jesus with their own EYES. Can you imagine that? They were huddled together in fear of their lives, likely discussing all the events that had happened in the last week, and surely some of them were struggling to understand and accept their new normal. In the midst of that, came Jesus.
22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
Indeed, Thomas was the Christine Lahti of the resurrection. This poor guy had probably run the other way after the crucifixion and missed the big reveal.
He said what many of us say today:
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
“Unless God heals my son, I won’t believe in him.”
“Why would a powerful God allow this horrific pandemic to happen? I don’t believe in a so-called loving God that would do this.“
“Evil people are committing terrible acts all over the world: there is no God.”
When we hold up our own litmus test of what a living God should look like, we are likely to be disappointed. God rarely conforms to our narrow version of him.
Eight days later, Jesus appeared to them again. This time, Thomas got the memo and saw Jesus with his own eyes. And don’t miss this important point: eight days later, Thomas had enough faith to show up again….
29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
That’s us, folks. Even BETTER blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing. So when you have doubt, and you will, remember all those around you who have never seen, but still believe. Remember Thomas. Listen to their stories and testimonies, bury your heart in God’s Word, and receive the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Ask God to help you in your unbelief. Be a Believing Thomas.