John 20: 19-31
The story of doubting Thomas in today’s passages shows us that it was not easy to live into the reality of Easter in the first century. What we know clearly from the passage is that the disciples were behind a door that was both closed and locked because they were scared.
Suddenly, Jesus appeared and had not said, “Shame on you,” but he had forgiven them by saying “Peace be with you,” three times, then, commissioned them and breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
The disciples announced to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord.” However, Thomas did not believe them. He was not an easygoing person. He was a brave and literal-minded maverick
who could be counted on to do the right thing, but only after he had convinced himself that it was the right thing.
The story does not tell us whether or not Thomas did touch because Thomas touching Jesus was beside the point. The point of this story is Jesus’s offer of himself, over and over again, to people who long to see him. With no questions asked, Jesus still offers himself and gives the repeated gift of his presence and peace to each of us in this moment, especially for those who are really longing for him.
I also see another implication from the story of doubting Thomas. I wonder if many Christians or many churches may still live on the other side of Easter, staying safely behind the closed church’s doors.
Or I wonder if many believers have already fled from the faith community and have been doubting like Thomas while they have closed minds and locked hearts by saying, “I will not believe…. unless you will show me something...”
If we may still live and stand behind the church’s door, it is time to restore our passion for longing for Jesus’s appearance again among us.
If we may know or remember someone who was here with us every Sunday, but if they have already stopped coming and joining us for worship, it is time to show them what an Easter people may look like and how an Easter community should look.
Today, Jesus still comes anyway and comes repeatedly to those who live in fear, even in the face of the Easter proclamation as Jesus walked through a closed and locked door to get to Thomas.
May we remember that the message of the resurrection must go on being heard with us and through us. “We have seen the Lord.” in the flesh? No. In our stories? Possibly. In our life together?