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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, April 25, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  John 20:19–31 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (NRSV)

None of the disciples clearly understood that Jesus had to die and then be raised from the dead. None believed one another’s accounts that Jesus had risen from the dead. When Mary Magdalene and the other women told the disciples that Jesus had risen, their words “seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11).

Thomas wasn’t alone in doubting, but he was the only one on record who issued an ultimatum. And while it reads like the outburst of a hardened heart veering perilously towards apostasy, I wonder if it might belie a loving but grievously hurt heart.

Thomas loved the Lord and was willing to risk death to go with Jesus to Bethany. When Jesus spoke of going away, it was Thomas who asked the way to where Jesus was going.

If Jesus knew that in a lake somewhere swam a fish that had swallowed a shekel and he foretold that wherever Peter dropped his fishing line the fish-with-a-shekel would bite, couldn’t Jesus have picked a time and place for his post-resurrection reveal when Thomas would be there, too?

If Thomas didn’t believe his fellow disciples, then he might have been stuck with double doubts. Did Jesus really rise again? If so, why did Jesus leave Thomas out? Didn’t Jesus love and care for Thomas, too?

For eight days, Thomas might have had to wrestle with these twin doubts. But when Jesus graciously showed up, Thomas would have received twin blessings of assurance. Yes, Jesus had risen from the dead. Yes, Jesus loved Thomas.

Dear God, please forgive us if we doubt your love sometimes. Please graciously make us to know how wide and long and high and deep your love is for each one of us. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Jeanette Chung, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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