Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service
April 20, 2017
The story of Thomas is a familiar scriptural passage, often read in the week following Easter. Thomas was the one who needed proof of the resurrection. He’s also the disciple with whom I identify because of similar desires within my own life. For example, when encouraging a choice to believe in the resurrection of Jesus through last week’s Easter sermon, I also think about what it might be like to touch his hands, side.
It’s a comforting thought that Thomas comes to find reassurance in this way, but more is indicated beyond what is easily understood, a simple physical sensation. It must also do with when there are no answers to questions in the here and now, and how we can still derive confidence – that although the part of the passage where Thomas touches Jesus has long passed, familiarity with the story still provides an encouraging basis for moving forward.
Continuing with faithful practice leads to the reality of a greater world opening to us. Church teaching aids in this. We are helped to learn how to cross over boundaries to become familiar with other persons, places, practices … and … that the example of Christ in relation to Thomas suggests it’s done in a way that speaks of grace, gratitude, and growth indicating an ever-expanding, eternal idea of God’s saving nature. It gives us a very real sense that as we face the future, there is no reason to fear. God is near.
Pastor Rich Wagner
This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon John 20:19-31:
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
(John 20:19–31, NIV)