John 20, 24-29
Something to read
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
King James Version
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.'
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
But one doubted. It's hard not to feel for Thomas. Would we not have said the same had we been confronted by friends telling us of resurrection when the granite-like image in our head was of a corpse being taken down from a cross and laid to rest? Thomas lives in the real world of suffering and pain and news of resurrection rings like a fantasy. He needs something far more tangible than just the reports of excited and excitable friends.
What a long week it must have been then! Thomas continuing to question and quarrel with the others who can't stop gabbling about seeing Jesus alive. It must have strained things amongst them. Until that moment when, miraculously, Jesus stands in front of Thomas and offers him the proof he craved.
It's hard not to feel for Thomas. And hard not to recognise ourselves in him. We're the ones Jesus speaks of when he talks of those who will come along much later, long after the room in Jerusalem is gone. We're the ones who join the unbroken chain of hope and hunger that extends from that room to where we are, from that date to today. And we're blessed when we dare to believe.
Something to do
Take a moment to give thanks for someone who has been a witness of the resurrection to you. Think of someone who has revealed a bit more of how faith in Jesus can be; more of its depth and richness, joy and passion. Then think of who you might witness to yourself.
Who, today, might you share something of your faith with? How might you do that? What might be possible? Could you send a text, write a card, have a conversation?
Something to pray
Thomas doubted and wanted proof.
Lord, help us who must hold on to faith,
to treasures faith as the fragile gift it is.
When we need something tangible you offer us the slimmest of words and the ache of silences.
And yet faith flourishes as your Spirit nurtures and sustains.
Thank you, for the faith we have.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers.