2021_11_22 Insight Post- Kim Feld
This week's reading- John 11-12
The disciple Thomas is mentioned more in John’s biography than any of the others. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he only appears in the listing of the disciples. But John gives us more of a picture of Thomas. In John 11, Jesus learned that his friend Lazarus was ill. Lazarus’ sisters ask for Jesus to come, and his disciples express concern, knowing that Jesus is a wanted man. A twist of the story tells us that Jesus didn’t go immediately to Lazarus but waited two days, during which time Lazarus died. There is so much to unpack in the story of Lazarus, but I want to focus our attention on Thomas. In verse 16, Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Thomas is the disciple that is commonly referred to as “Doubting Thomas.” This is because he was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them following His resurrection (see John 20) and had a hard time believing that Jesus had really come back to life. Thomas is the one who said that he wouldn’t believe Jesus was resurrected unless he could put his finger in Jesus’ wounds. However, he believed once he saw the resurrected Christ, who graciously offered his wounds for Thomas’ inspection.
When we compare Thomas’ bravery in John 11:16 with his doubts in John 20, we see a man who was very human. Just like you and me. We are all mixed bags, capable of great bravery one minute and fearful doubt the next. I’ve often wondered why Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them after His resurrection (John 20:24). John doesn’t give us the details, but I wonder if he needed space to grieve and sort out his thoughts and emotions. I see myself in Thomas.
Psalm 139:14 says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” In those words, I see the complexity of our human bodies. But for me, those words also encompass the complexity of our hearts and minds – our thoughts and emotions. Like Thomas, we have opportunities to exercise our faith and trust in Jesus every day, especially when things don’t make sense. I pray that we each land where Thomas did, proclaiming of the resurrected Christ, “My Lord and my God!”
Executive Director of Education and Outreach