First Sunday After Easter, Easter 2, Year B
Deacon Cindy Roehl
So often we talk about Thomas. Or as we most often hear him called, “Doubting Thomas”. And there’s something about his story that I always wonder about. As we just read, on the first day of the week the disciples are gathered together and the Bible says, “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.”
I do have to take a side road for a minute whenever I talk about this event and ask, do you know what “perfect vision” is? It’s 20-20, right. I always have to smile when I read this sentence because we are in the Gospel of John Chapter 20 verse 20 (John 20:20) and we read, “Then the disciples rejoiced when they “saw the Lord”. Perfect vision, “they saw the Lord” in John 20:20.”
Okay, I’ll get back to my message…
Anyway, a couple sentences later it says, “But Thomas …, 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.’” So he is called Doubting Thomas.
Let’s start with the fact that when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the room, Thomas wasn’t there. When it says he wasn’t there, it simply says he wasn’t there. We don’t know why. We fill in the blanks. We think – maybe he wasn’t there because Jesus had been crucified and he was ashamed to be identified with the others, or – maybe he was running an errand. After all, the other disciples were not exactly full of faith. The Bible says they had the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Even though they had heard that Jesus was risen, they still had to live with the reality that they represented a threat to the Jewish council who represented the Jewish establishment of the day. In other words, the disciples were glad to hear about Jesus’ resurrection, but didn’t understand what that all meant and were still in fear of the Jews.
So, you can be really happy about something, but distracted about something else. Somebody asks, “How are you doing?” You say, “I’m good”, but that’s not ALL you are. You are good in that particular area you chose to disclose at that moment.
Thomas wasn’t there. The only difference between Thomas and Peter is that Peter got to see Jesus when he showed up. Peter didn’t have a greater faith than Thomas, he just had a different experience. I believe, if any of the other disciples had been in his same situation, they would have had his same doubt. And I have to repeat the words that the reading says of his first appearance to them, “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.” But Thomas wasn’t there…
Read the full sermon text HERE.
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