Sunday 11 April 2010

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)

John 20:19-31 Sunday 11 April 2010


There are many phrases and images used in general conversationwhich are rooted in the writings of the Bible or Shakespeare. Theyhave become familiar and are often said without any particularreference to their original source. One such image is that of the"doubting Thomas", used to describe a person who is full ofquestions and uncertainties.

The image goes back to today's reading where, on the evening of thefirst Easter day, the disciple Thomas was absent when the risenJesus appeared to his friends. Some time later they tell Thomaswhat he has missed and, not unreasonably we might think, Thomaswants some proof of the story they are telling him.

There are at least two reasons why it is perhaps unfortunate that,from that time onwards, Thomas has been linked with the image ofdoubt:

  • Firstly, what we know of Thomas previously in the Gospelaccounts shows him to be a man of courage and of faith. In John11:16, for instance, it is Thomas who, when the other disciples arediscussing the risk of physical danger from the opponents of Jesus,proclaims, "Let us also go, that we may die with him". Clearlythere is more to Thomas than is contained in the description'doubting'.

  • Secondly, it is clear that Thomas is not totally dismissing theidea of an encounter with the risen Christ - he simply is seeking afirst-hand and not a second-hand experience. A week later when hehas that personal experience, his affirmation of faith - "My Lordand my God" - is both strong and bold. It is a reminder thatalthough the testimonies of others can encourage us on our ownjourney of faith, what is really important is a personalrelationship with God in response to the invitation to discipleshipoffered by the risen Jesus.


To Ponder

How can doubts and questions be used creativelyto enable faith to grow?

How can we develop a real 'personal relationship'with the risen Jesus in a time when we cannot physically touch hiswounds?

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