Christians today have the same difficulty as did Thomas nearly two thousand years ago. Thomas witnessed Jesus’ miracles; healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, walking on water. Yet, when the greatest of all miracles was made known, Thomas doubted it could happen. People don’t simply arise from a tomb after being crucified by the Roman army; they don’t live to tell about it. Yet, on the first day of the week, the third day after Jesus was arrested and killed, Thomas was being asked to believe just that. “We have seen the Lord.” Jesus is alive! Filled with grief, Thomas couldn’t accept the good news and doubted reports of Jesus’ resurrection.
We can’t be too hard on Thomas. After all, in the death of Jesus, Thomas lost someone whom he loved deeply. He lost the one in whom he staked his life, his future, even his salvation. Without Jesus, Thomas’ life was a shambles, he had no direction. The death of Jesus meant Thomas had spent three years chasing after something else. Thomas’ life has taken an unexpected turn for the worse; he is in a free fall. If Jesus really was the Messiah, why didn’t he show us then? Why can’t he show me now? Why can’t he make my life better? Sound familiar?
Certainly there are some today who ask these same questions. We suffer from difficulties and hardships every day. All too often, the death of a loved one, marriage ending in divorce or a sudden loss of employment sends us reeling. Christians who find themselves in such predicaments often turn to prayer, but doubt gets the better of us. We pray for a specific outcome but fail to see God’s answer. We ask for peace but refuse the company of others. We focus on doubt rather than on God. Thankfully, he is with us.
A week later, on the first day of the week, Christ once again appeared to his disciples, and Thomas was with them. Blessed by the power of God’s love, Thomas became witness to the resurrection. It is the same for Christians today. In the midst of a fallen and broken world, even the people of God experience times of doubt. We say to Christ, “Show me.” And so he does.
Blessed by God, the Church gathers on the first day of the week and Christ makes himself known. Jesus comes to us through Holy Scripture, through preaching and in song. At the time of confession, Jesus forgives our sins. At the table he feeds us the food from heaven, his precious body and blood through the elements of the bread and wine. In all of these, Jesus opens our eyes, faith is strengthened and doubt is cast aside. Jesus shows us. He shows us the power of God’s love, the certainty of God’s grace and the peace that passes all understanding. Thomas came to believe when he saw Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”