This week’s gospel reading tells about Jesus visiting the disciples the evening after they have discovered that he is risen. The disciples are locked together in a room, surely for their safety, since their leader was just executed by the authorities a few days earlier. Jesus tells them “Peace be with you,” breathes the Holy Spirit on them, and tells them that forgiving (or not forgiving) matters.

For some reason or another, Thomas misses this whole encounter with Jesus.  When he returns and the others try to convince him of what they have seen, he is clear, saying “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hand, and put my finger in the make of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

I am so grateful for Thomas.  I think he has been mislabeled through the centuries as “doubting Thomas” when all he is asking for is the same information the others have received.  He is not going to simply take their word for it – not with something this important and remarkable.  I am struck by the way Jesus interacts with Thomas when he again appears to the disciples in the locked room the next week. Jesus brings words of peace to the group, and then invites Thomas to see and touch the wounds, offering the very proof Thomas insisted he needs. Jesus doesn’t hesitate.  He doesn’t criticize Thomas for needing to see for himself. Jesus doesn’t scold Thomas for not believing based on the word of the others. Jesus simply invites him into believing. 

I am grateful that this story shows there is room for questions in the life of faith.  It shows that there is room to look for more information. This story shows that we do not need to give up our critical thinking skills in order to follow Jesus – in fact, using our minds and our intellect are key to following Jesus. Questions, doubt, searching – these are all important parts of our lives as people of God.



weekly prayer | Jesus appears to the disciples in John 20

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