April 11, 2021
Second Sunday of Easter
Beyond Doubting Thomas
The first time Thomas speaks in John’s gospel is when Jesus announces his plan to return to Judea where Lazarus has died. Thomas, understanding the danger from the Jewish leaders, enjoins his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.” Thomas, having experienced Jesus’ miracles, wisdom, and divinity, knows that Jesus is the Messiah and is ready to give up his life for Him. What miracles have we experienced in our lives? What holy wisdom have we heard, maybe in unexpected places? In what ways have we experienced Christ’s divinity? What are we willing to give up for our Lord?
Thomas next speaks at the Last Supper, asking, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus answers, “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus’ answer is simple yet unimaginably profound. What questions are plaguing our souls? Do we, like Thomas, have the courage to ask our Lord these questions? Are we willing to open ourselves up to His answer, even if it pulls us beyond our comfort zone?
Thomas’s third quotation is his most famous: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Thomas, who lived with his fellow apostles and Jesus for three years, cannot bring himself to believe their account, to trust His divinity. What prevented Thomas from trusting? What does John want us to learn from this event? Why do we doubt? Is doubt something to fear or itself a part of faith?
Of course Thomas does have one more line to speak: upon seeing the Risen Jesus, he cries out “My Lord and my God!” Thomas’ prior willingness to die for Jesus, to question Jesus, and to doubt Jesus all lead to this moment, his absolute pronouncement of Jesus’ divinity.
As we reflect on Thomas’s discipleship, how much of ourselves do we see in him? Have we reached the point in our spiritual journey where we too can call out “My Lord and my God!” or are we not there yet? Let us look to Thomas as our guide to the Way.
– Bill Merlock