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John’s gospel post 85:Seeing for yourself

April 21, 2014

John 20:24 – 31

Thomas wasn’t there that night.

He was the one who was prepared to go with Jesus even if it meant death.

He was the one who dared to ask where Jesus was going, with all this talk about preparing a place.

On the first occasion his faith witnessed the raising of a dead man.

On the second, one of Jesus’ greatest claims. “I am the way the truth and the life. The only way to God”.

He wasn’t there that night and Jesus doesn’t seem to have hung around with his disciples. The disciples tell Thomas of their experience. And of course he believes them straight away. He has no difficulty.

Actually he has lots of difficulty. Although he has seen some evidence to the contrary (Lazarus), dead men stay dead. Seeing is believing. He needs to see for himself. As they have seen his wounds he actually needs to touch them in order to believe.

We call him Doubting Thomas. What a poor excuse for a disciple he is!

But how much like you and me he is. I mean he wasn’t there with the others. Would I have believed if I had not seen? Of course I wouldn’t. And probably neither would you. Let’s give this normal guy a break!

A week later they are still locked in their room on Sunday night. Thomas is there this time and Jesus reappears.

“Peace be with you”.

His attention immediately turns to Thomas.

“Touch the nail holes and the spear wound. Here. Don’t doubt. Believe”.

We are not told that Thomas did reach out his hand. To see seems to be enough.

“My Lord and my God!”

We have learnt in John’s Jesus bio, that when Thomas speaks something great is going to be done or said.

And again that is true.

“Well done Thomas. You have seen me and now believe. But the people who really please me are those who will not even get to see me, but will believe in me”.

Now who is he talking about? Well it could be you.

Jesus has not come and stood in our locked rooms. We have not seen him in the street. We have not walked with him as he healed the sick, challenged the religious leaders, or fed the 5000.

On one level it is easier to believe in one you have seen (although of course many did not believe in spite of their unique opportunity).

But as the centuries go by, Jesus is still real though no longer physically present. He is still present in this world by his Spirit.

And there are many who believe. Without Thomas’s advantages. Jesus speaks of them. Of you and me.

We who do not walk by sight, but by faith.

John now reaches a kind of conclusion.

All these things have been recorded so that the reader might believe in Jesus. I have been impressed by how few miracles John recorded. There were many more says John. Read Matthew Mark & Luke!

Written so you may believe. In believing you will have life. As John moves towards the end of his Jesus life story, we remember how he started.

“To those who believed, he gave the right to be called children of God”.

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