Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Reflections- I guess you had to be there...

Happy Easter! Now, that we are all stuffed full of ham and jelly beans it's time to move on to the the scripture accounts of what happened with the disciples after Jesus has risen. This week we land on the Gospel of John's telling about Thomas.  Doubting Thomas, as he has come to be known.

Read John 20: 19-31

I've been thinking this week that Thomas has gotten a bad rap over the years.  Being known as the "doubting" one give the impression that he's the skeptic. The unfaithful one. The one that doesn't have the faith of the others.  Well, I call B.S. I think he was a follower of Jesus who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Here's the scene:
On the same day the women found the empty tomb, Jesus surprised the disciples. They were in a room with the door locked and afraid the people who killed Jesus would come after them.  Thomas was not there. Suddenly Jesus was in the room with them, but no one had unlocked he door.  Jesus says “Peace be with you.” 
Before he left, he showed them the scars on his hands and side.  The disciples were joyful and happy, according to the scripture. 

So Thomas comes back and the disciples are all  “Jesus is back! We have seen him!”
And Thomas is all "Pffft. Yeah- right." 

Okay, so what the Gospel actually says is something more like: 
“I am not sure I believe what you say. I will believe you when I see Jesus in person, myself, I want to see him with my own eyes.” 

I mean, who could blame him. That's a pretty miraculous thing to just believe with seeing. I can relate. Imagine being Thomas and coming into that room. I imagine he felt annoyed and left out because he missed something big. It's like when a group of friends all have a great story from an event you didn't get to participate in - or an inside joke that you just don't get because you weren't there. I mean, he missed Jesus Christ. That's got to hurt. 

I guess you had to be there. 

So,  eight days later, the disciples were gathered together in the same room again and this time Thomas was there.  Suddenly Jesus was in the room, even though the door was locked. Jesus blessed them by saying, “Peace be with you.”
Jesus said to Thomas; “Put your hands on my hands. See the marks where the soldiers hurt me? Here I am, scars and all. Believe that I am alive!”

And Thomas touched him and said “Jesus—it is you!”
No more skeptic. No more doubting Thomas.  But the name still stuck. 

Jesus said to Thomas: “ Do you believe it’s me because you can see me? Blessed are the people that don’t see me and still believe."  

Jesus is telling Thomas that God will show up, even when the door is locked.  God will show up even when we have a million questions, doubts and fears.   I am reminding myself this week that it's through our doubts and questions that we grown and learn and feel closer to God.  I am praying this week that I am paying attention to the ways that Jesus is trying to show me the scars on his hands.  I am reminding myself  that God is always with us and is working in the world, despite my doubts and questions.   

I am a skeptic just like Thomas. I want someone to show me and spell it out for me. It's hard to believe in something that you can see or prove.  But I think through this scripture Jesus is reminding us that he will never say, "I guess you had to be there"  - and will keep showing us God's love as long as we keep asking questions. 

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