When Belief is Not Enough

Scripture: John 20:19-31
Let us pray:
Touch us and heal our wounds, O God, that we may believe. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

Last week I asked, “Do we recognize Jesus – the Resurrected One – among us?” There is a deeper implication in that question. The deeper implication presupposes a belief in Jesus, resurrected. Thomas had a little difficulty with that at first. He needed the proof of Christ’s wounds in a living, breathing Jesus solidly before him before he could believe. I trust most if not all of us here today believe, even though we have not seen, and for that Jesus calls us blessed. But I own that there is still the temptation to think, “Really? Died, buried, came back to life? Isn’t that kind of impossible?”
Then, there is this business of entering a fully closed up room; isn’t that a little far out, too – unless you are a ghost, of course, able to pass through that which is sold. But then how could a ghost’s wounds be physically there to touch?
Again, we in this later time have nothing but belief and a story handed down for over 2000 years to go on. However, what if we did internalize it deeply as an ongoing, ever-living, ever-moving, ever-changing faith, as I suggested last week? Wouldn’t a transformation be inevitable? No matter how we reframed the heart of Christianity, it is still the same heart. Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, came among us as God Incarnate for a time to teach us, to bring us all to God, to lead us into a Life everlasting. He was crucified, died, and was buried. He rose again on the third day, turning his life, death and resurrection into a sin-offering for the whole world. Now we, with Christ, emerge to gain a new life in service to one another and the world, empowered by the Holy Spirit to do good works and to proclaim that God is with us still.
Not only that, but twice in today’s passage Jesus says “Peace be with you.” Do you suppose there is something to that? I wonder if it is more than just a calming of their fears at this very real Jesus returning to them from the dead. Recalling the passage from John 14, perhaps Jesus is emphasizing a message from the Last Supper: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Only now, the meaning has changed.
This peace is from a risen Christ, who has himself undergone all the hatred and discord/non-peace the world has to throw around and yet stands among the disciples – alive again. That peace means something! It means no matter what happens to us or around us that may seem chaotic or repressive in our world, we have been given the courage to stand and live with Christ among us, filling ourselves with the peace that passes all understanding and extending that same peace in grace to those around us that need it. And that also captures the essence of today’s lesson. Jesus gives them his peace, then immediately sends them on into the world: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (v. 21). And what do they bring: The Good News of faith.

Song: “I Believe In You, Lord” text:

I believe in you, Lord.  I believe you are the Son of God.

I believe you died and rose again, I believe you paid for us all.

And I believe that you are here, now; standing in our midst!

Here with the power to heal now, and the grace to forgive.


Question for Reflection
According to the gospel, Christ’s wounds were not erased by the resurrection. In fact, he invites Thomas and the other disciples to touch his wounds to bring the disciples back to faith. How might we in the church use our wounds to help others come to faith?
Household Prayer: Morning
Holy One, you have made known to me the ways of life and have promised to fill me with the gladness of your presence. Keep me mindful of your guidance and your promise as I travel through this day, that my heart may be glad. Amen.
Household Prayer: Evening
Thank you, God, for giving me your counsel today. Tonight, as I sleep, may the dreams of my heart also serve to instruct me in your ways. In you I have a good heritage, and my heart, my soul, and my body rest in you. Amen.

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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