Tag Archives: Thomas

In The Midst

By Andrey Mironov (Own work)

John 20:19-31 (CEV)

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them 20 and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy.

21 After Jesus had greeted them again, he said, “I am sending you, just as the Father has sent me.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don’t forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.”

Jesus and Thomas

24 Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”

26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”

28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”

Why John Wrote His Book

30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

We were alone and afraid.  In the last few days we had been through just about every emotion imaginable.  Hope, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, thinking this was it, this was the time, the Messiah was here, and everything was going to be different; confusion at the meal, when he spoke of betrayal and suffering; the dawning horror of his arrest and the out of control steam roller that became his death; the pain, anguish and heartache watching his final surrender to all that humanity at its worst could throw at him; his death…

And then, as we mourned, more confusion.  He wasn’t dead after all, but was alive.  What to think, what to do?

So we did what we could.  We gathered together.  To comfort, for protection, to try to work it all out.

Of course the authorities would think it was us.  That we had somehow removed the body and were making up stories to make it seem like we weren’t fools, following a broken dream; that we hadn’t been deluded; that we weren’t wrong about Jesus.

As we sat, in shock, in wondering, in fear, suddenly there he was.  Just when we needed him, Jesus came to us and was amongst us, present in all those tumbling, whirling emotions; still there in the reality of our lives.

But he wasn’t just appearing to reassure us, though that was important.  He also came to remind us that the work was not done.  His death and resurrection are not the end, but a new beginning.  We are to now the ones to go and to show others God’s ways.  All that Jesus showed us, we are to pass on and to live out, to bring his forgiveness and hope to the world.

A hope, even for those who find it hard to believe it.

Thomas wasn’t there, he thought he’d missed out, that the resurrected Jesus wasn’t for him.  Jesus got that and came just for him.  Came so that he could touch the wounds and know their healing in his life.  God wasn’t worried by his continued doubts and ongoing worries, he came to meet them and reassure.

So, however we are left feeling after Easter, sad, happy, bemused, confused, empowered, or any combination, God comes to us, says, ‘Peace be with you’.  He invites us to know his reality in our lives today, and sends us to get on with the work – his work, before us.

Thank you Lord
That you are with me
in confusion,
pain,
bafflement,
sadness
and joy.

Thank you for being with me,
bringing your peace
and meeting me where I need it.

Thank you
that I can touch your wounds
and know the reality of your love
and hope.

Renewed,
restored
and empowered by you,
may I go
and do all you ask of me –
to take your words
of love,
hope,
peace
and forgiveness
to all who need to hear

I believe he is here now, standing in our midst

 

Advertisements

Over to You

Sometimes, you just don’t know whether to believe something.  Something you see on TV, that you wonder if it is just a trick of the cameras; something that causes you to make a double take; or a rumour that you are sure can’t really be true…

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them 20 and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy.

21 After Jesus had greeted them again, he said, “I am sending you, just as the Father has sent me.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don’t forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.”

Jesus and Thomas

24 Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”

26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”

28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”

Why John Wrote His Book

30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

Well, by now we didn’t know what to believe.

We had all seen Jesus die, seen him breathe his last, seen the evidence.  Everyone had been there, it was real ok.

But then, but then Mary had come with this tale that the tomb was empty, but more than that – that Jesus had been raised.  Then he’d appeared to the two as they were walking  in the countryside, wondering what was happening.

Now we were afraid.  Afraid because we didn’t understand what was happening, and afraid because now the Jewish authorities would be after us.  They’d assume we’d pulled some trick or other to back up the stories of Jesus.  But we hadn’t, we were as confused as the next man and woman.

So here we were, shut away.

And then here he was, right in the middle of us, among us again.

Peace be with you

that was what he said to us.  Bringing his calming peace into our place of questioning and fear.

He showed us his hands and side.  There was no question it was him.  Thomas missed all this.  He wasn’t going to believe it he said.  Not unless he saw it with his own eyes.  But Jesus accepted that, and a week later he appeared again, allowing Thomas to touch, to see – and believe and understand.

He repeated his message of peace, and then added to it,

As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you – wow!

Seeing, believing, receiving – and then going with it.

God’s new thing was here – and now it was up to us, to me, to pass it on.

Thank you Lord

you are with me in the times I have locked myself away,

in my questions,

in my doubts,

in my fear,

in my grief.

Thank you

that you bring your word of peace,

allow me to touch you

– as you touch my life anew.

Help me to share what I have discovered in you,

that others may discover the new thing you are doing

and become a part of it.

~~~~~

I have really enjoyed this book, and found it very helpful.  Thanks to Tom Wright!

This year, I am again following the BigRead using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

Doubting

Story of my life – I wasn’t there.  I missed it.

I got back to the room, safe to where the others were hiding.  I go in, and they tell me that Jesus has been.  They have all seen the Lord, risen, alive and there among them.

I wasn’t sure…

Didn’t know what to think.

Were they having me on?

Playing a joke at my expense?

Pretty poor taste if you ask me – they knew how upset I was.

I needed some proof.  That’s not such a bad thing is it?  To need to know, to be sure?

After all, it was such an amazing thing that we were claiming.  We’d all seen him die.  We saw the blood and water pour out as his side was pierced.  He was dead ok, no pretences, no lingering hopes.  And now they tell me he is alive.  And not just alive, but here.  I needed to know it was Jesus, I needed to see it with my own eyes.  I so want to believe it, but…

Then, a week later it happened.  We were meeting together again, there was so much to talk about, and next thing we know, Jesus is stood there. Right there.

He knew what I needed, and so Jesus invited me to touch and feel, to look at the evidence for myself.

They weren’t wrong you know!  It was Jesus.  The Jesus we had followed all those months; the Jesus we had heard teach us what God and living his way was really all about; the Jesus who had been willing to give up his all on the cross to bring God’s kingdom.

My Lord and my God!

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio