Day 40 (Saturday, April 20, 2019)
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
One of the encouraging things about the Christian Bible is its downright honesty, and not least about its heroes. Thomas, one of Jesus’ first followers who was to become an apostle, expressed his frustration at the Passover meal when Jesus said he was going away: “We don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Thomas wanted clear and concrete answers to perplexing questions. This may be why he could not at first accept the fact that Jesus, whom he had seen crucified, was now alive. “Unless I see the nail marks on his hands and put my fingers where the nails were… I will not believe,” he said (20:25). He had not been with the other ten disciples when Jesus appeared to them on the day that changed the world – the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
A week later Jesus appeared again to the disciples. This time Thomas was present. And Jesus, aware of Thomas’s doubts, was gentle and understanding. “Put your finger here and see my hands,” Jesus said. “Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Experiencing an unexpected joy and without touching Jesus, Thomas responded, “My Lord and my God!” It was the perfect confession of faith.
John concludes the chapter by summing up the purpose of his book, These things are written… Jesus had patiently brought Thomas from doubt to faith, and with that faith had brought hope. Let us thank God for his patience with us and pray for the gifts of forgiveness, hope
Eternal God, who strengthened Thomas your apostle, when he was in doubt, with sure and certain faith in the resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ: so grant that we may not be faithless but believing, until we come to see our Savior in his glory face to face; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP, Collect for St Thomas’s Day – adapted)
Daily Reading Plan
Read John 20:19-31