Saturday 03 July 2021

Bible Book:

'Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.' (v. 27)

John 20:24-29 Saturday 3 July 2021

Psalm 31:1-6


The post-resurrection encounters of Jesus and his disciples form the narrative scaffolding of our Easter celebrations and are fundamental to the theological basis of our Christian faith. If Christ has not been raised from the dead our faith is in vain says St Paul and “we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

 So the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to the veracity of the Easter story as it is recounted in the New Testament. Ultimately we rely on the testimonies of the disciples who were there, and how they came to be represented in scripture, to have decisively and definitively captured the truth of the matter. Without the evidence of livestream recordings via Facebook or Youtube, Tik-Tok video clips or Instagram stories, the Bible is all we have by way of a primary source. Added to that there is over 2000 years of Christian history, interpretation and testimony, which all frame and inform how we read texts such as this one today.

 When it comes to these verses from St John we discover a template for our own engagement with Easter. As wonderful as it is that the other disciples can excitedly declare “We have seen the Lord”, that rightly can only satisfy Thomas when he can actually engage with the living proof of the risen Christ for himself. Why would he be content with second-hand accounts? Would you be, when the other disciples clearly needed to see for themselves, just as much as Thomas now says that he does? Yet “doubting Thomas” is somehow judged to be lesser than they are, when of course that is simply not true. One way or another, everyone in that group of disciples needed convincing personal proof of their own that Jesus was risen.

 For Thomas this meant reaching out and touching Christ and feeling the truth revealed in his own flesh. Only then could he with integrity say “My Lord and my God”. And for us the same holds true: being in touch with Christ and appreciating for ourselves the transformation that faith in him brings within us and through us is an essential step along the path of discipleship. To feel this sacred difference in our own flesh and blood life anchors our believing in first-person experience that we can trust. When Jesus says “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” I think that he is not being tangentially pejorative towards Thomas, but is rather, through John, speaking to those thousands of new converts to Christianity who came to faith through the testimonies, preaching, teaching, welfare and healing ministry of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared in this room. Those converts, like those of us of faith today, need both the testimony of others and the proof of our own experience if our faith is to flourish. For me the thing which really rings true in this story about Thomas is the necessity of reaching out for ourselves. 

To Ponder:

  • In what ways does Jesus make a sacred difference to your life?
  • Where in your doubt is Jesus asking you to reach out and be in touch with him?
  • "We have seen the Lord.” Whose testimony and faith has had the greatest influence on you, and who needs to hear what you have to say?


Come risen Jesus I pray, break through my doubts and anxieties with the simple truth of your presence, that I would know more fully the deep peace only you can bring to my heart and mind.

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