We all struggle to find the place where we belong. Christians have a place of belonging. We belong to God.
photo © 2011 evan courtney | more info (via: Wylio)
I’ll admit it, I like Thomas. Thomas is a relief and encouragement to me, both for myself and for all of us. Thomas is one who needs to understand. He wants things to make sense to him. He has trouble just believing. He wants things to make sense. He wants empirical evidence. He wants rational and reasonable arguments.
We want to know how and why. Thomas missed seeing Jesus immediately after the resurrection. When Jesus came and appeared to the disciples, Thomas was somewhere else. (I’ve always wondered where, but that is another thing I don’t know.) Thomas comes back and seems frustrated. The other disciples have the proof. They have seen Jesus, but Thomas missed it. They tell him. They want him to share in their joy and belief.
Thomas wants to make up his own mind. He wants to decide for himself if it really is Jesus and if Jesus has really been resurrected. Most of us want the opportunity to make up our own minds. We don’t want to have our decisions handed to us with others deciding what to believe.
I remember decorating a room in my house. There was a shelf that I wanted to hang in a certain location. My dad said that the shelf would not fit. My dad was holding the shelf. Dad watched me. He knew the look on my face. It is the look that says, “hmm. . . I am right. They are wrong.” He did not tell me again that the shelf would not fit. He held the shelf up so that I could see for myself that it would not fit. Dad was right. I needed to have proof. I could not just be told.
Jesus understood that Thomas needed to see and have proof, so Jesus offers Thomas proof. He says, in John’s gospel, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas responds by saying , “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had a chance to make his own decision. We don’t know if he did actually reach out, but we know that he believed.
Faith is something that we all need to decide for ourselves. Thomas decided and believed. I am Thomas in that I needed to decide for myself. So do you. Have you decided? Do you believe?