Thomas and Resurrection
- The Rev. Lisa M. Zaina
- Apr 20, 2017
- Category: General
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Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Every time I think about Thomas, I think that history has been somewhat unfair to him. Let’s be honest, the story that we must often attribute to him is the one in which it is said that he doubts the resurrection of Christ. But, does he doubt the resurrection, or the appearance?
Who wants a life that is defined by one picture, rather than the video that is illustrative of our lives?
I’m sure that some reading this may remember the Super 8 cameras with the blinding light on them. One of the many reasons that I love watching old movies is how we often stopped in them and stared at the camera. But, that defeated the purpose, for it was meant to capture the action as it unfolded, and not the still shot.
Thomas called Didymus, “the twin” was one of the twelve apostles, and is best known for his doubts about the reports of Jesus’ Resurrection. Thus, he is also known by the epithet “doubting Thomas.” But, that is a snapshot.
The Gospel according to John records several incidents in which Thomas appears, and from them we are able to gain some impression of the sort of man he was.
When Jesus insisted on going to Judea, to visit his friends at Bethany, Thomas boldly declared, “Let us also go, that we may die with him”. He was the first apostle to insist that he was ready to die with him. At the Last Supper, he interrupted our Lord’s discourse with the question, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus replies that he is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
And finally, when faced with the risen Jesus, placing his hands in the wounds, he offers his confession of faith. And, this is the only instance in the New Testament in which Jesus is explicitly addressed as God: “My Lord and my God”
Thomas was loyal, and thoughtful. And, yes, maybe he was inclined to skepticism. But, the expression “Doubting Thomas,” which has become established in English usage, is not entirely fair to Thomas. He did not refuse belief: he wanted to believe, but did not dare, without further evidence.
Jesus did give him a sign because of his steadfast loyalty. But, the sign did not create faith; it merely released the faith that was in Thomas already.
Thomas’ honest questioning and doubt, and Jesus’ assuring response to him, have given many modern Christians courage to persist in faith, even when they are still doubting and questioning.
Remember, we move through our seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years that we have on this earth. We need not be stuck in place. Every next moment is a chance for redemption.
And those moments of redemption are rooted in Resurrection.