Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reflection on John 20:25-28: Thomas said, “Unless I see”

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”
(Psalm 94:19NLT)

Jesus was sentenced to be crucified (to know more, read from John 19 onward or just read the entire book would be great). He was really dead. His body was wrapped and buried in the tomb. After 3 days, the tomb was empty! It is like what he said to his disciples long before this event took place, “We are going to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18:31NIV) He was raised from the dead! He appeared to his disciples in many occasions… but sadly, not when Thomas was there… he missed it!

Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples who also known today as Doubting Thomas (Hah! For once upon a time, I was a Doubting Richard!), didn’t believe that Jesus was risen from the dead. When the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ He replied, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand on his side, I will not believe it.’ (John 20: 25).

As ex-doubter myself, I understand why he says ‘unless I see...’ He doubted, I doubted, everyone of us may doubt once in a while. ‘But he already walks with Jesus, hear his teachings, and saw Jesus performed miracles. Why can’t he believed?’ some of you may asked. Well, up to this day you breathe the air – why there are times you also doubt the existence of God? Doubt is normal; don’t blame yourself for doubting what you may have believed. See from the text, Jesus didn’t scold Thomas for his honest-replied. Thomas, as I understand here, is not like todays ‘just believe’ self-talk chant, he want to know was Jesus really rise from the dead. That is not a crime to ask for authenticity of the news. He wants to see for himself. He doesn’t want to settle for 2nd hand – he want to see and believe. He wants a 1st hand faith.

I bet he was struggled with this news. Maybe he was praying, maybe not. Maybe he was expecting for Jesus to come again, maybe he just nearly giving up. Whatever he may have thoughts, only after 1 week later; his doubt finally encountered the truth.
“Jesus came and stood among them [his disciples, including Thomas] and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)

See! God doesn’t mind when you doubt as long as you are seeking Jesus in the midst of it. If you read the Bible it may not surprise you that David, John the Baptist, Peter and many other biblical heroes all struggled with doubt. Doubt can become sin if it leads you away from God toward skepticism, cynicism, or hard-heartedness. But doubt can be beneficial when honest searching leads you closer to God and strengthen your faith.
Some of you may not like Thomas. You have great faith. But here I’m writing for those who doubt sometime, you have little faith and you want to ‘see’. Thus, you need to hear Jesus speaks, “Stop doubting and believe.”

May as he revealed himself to you, my dear friend,
you will acknowledge Jesus as ‘My Lord and God.’
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