Sunday 08 April 2018

Bible Book:

“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.” (v. 25)

Psalm: Psalm 133


The book of John is the fourth Gospel and gives more detail about what Jesus said and did. Journeying through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the Gospel explores why he lived, and by doing so explains why the reader should believe and follow Christ.

In today's passage the doors are locked, yet Jesus appears without having walked through them. Christ’s greeting “Peace be with you” (vv. 19, 21, 26) is a common greeting within the Church as we share the peace with one another as a sign of that same peace.

Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared in that house for the first time, so when the disciples tell him that they have seen the risen Lord, he quite rightly questions it: “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”.

A week later Jesus returns, appearing to have entered again via a locked door. This time Jesus approaches Thomas inviting him to “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe” (v. 27). This particular is particularly powerful. Can you imagine Jesus inviting you to place your bare hands in his wounded side, to feel the scars, the wound that is yet to heal? It is so raw and intrusive.

It is as if Jesus is saying, “Here, experience the consequence of my sacrifice. Here, the crucifixion really happened. I really died, yet here I am with you.”

Not everyone can have the experience of Thomas and the disciples so many years ago. Yet Jesus addresses them: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (v. 29).

Contemplate the closing words of verse 31: “this is written so that you may believe”. To hear someone else share their faith story can be a powerful thing. Some parts of it may resonate with you and cause you to feel closer to God. And there may be parts of their story where you just gasp in awe and wonder at their testimony. Today’s passage reminds us that it is important and powerful to share our testimonies and faith stories. They bring glory to God.

Thomas had to see in order to believe. There is a famous saying that “seeing is believing”, but as Christians we are taught to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). This Eastertide how are you sharing the good news that Christ is no longer dead but alive. He is risen, risen indeed! Alleluia!

To Ponder

  • Look at Caravaggio’s painting The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. What grabs your attention?
  • Have you ever thought about writing a book of about your faith, life and testimony - The Book of [insert your name here]? What would you include in it?
  • How do you explain your faith to others?
  • Pray that you may be guided by this passage today.
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