Our Gospel lesson is John 20:19-31.
“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.”
The story of Doubting Thomas is well known and teaches us the important lesson of “believing where we have not seen” (v. 29). We often look down on this disciple because he didn’t believe what the others had told him about the resurrection. However, like many lessons in the Gospel accounts, we can see ourselves and grow in faith from the experience.
When Peter and John followed Mary to the empty tomb, they didn’t know what to think. Later when Mary returns and tells the disciples “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18) there is no indication that they believe her statement. Thomas is not alone in his lack of understanding, all those who knew Jesus while He was on earth experienced this. That is why He appeared to them in various situations, to help them accept the fact that God had raised Him.
Near the end of this passage Jesus tells them “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (v. 29). That would be all of us! Jesus knew it was important for those who had known Him in the flesh to see Him, that they might testify to the truth of the resurrection, enabling those of us who didn’t meet Jesus in life to believe without seeing. May we go to all the world that they may believe as well.
Gracious God, our faith is often based on what we can see and touch, which is only a small part of Your salvation for us. Help us to see the only proof we need is Your love for us and to know that Christ’s sacrifice has saved us. Amen.