Seeing is Believing or Faith?
“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.’”
John 20:29
St. Thomas had his fate sealed when he proclaimed that he would not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead unless he saw the marks of the nails and the spear on Jesus’ body for himself. He would forever be known as Doubting Thomas.
In this story in John’s Gospel, Thomas expressed the same doubts that many people have in our current times. We want to see physical evidence of things we are asked to believe. However, we believe many things based on faith, not on physical evidence. And even though Thomas said he needed to “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,” the text of the Gospel does not say whether he ever actually touched Jesus.
The Gospel leaves that open for interpretation. John 20:27-28 says, “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!’” We know then that Thomas saw and believed. And Jesus said,” Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Jesus is talking about faith. In Hebrews 11:1, we read “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Faith is what carries us through those difficult times when we do not know, when we cannot see what God’s plan is for us. Thanks be to God, for the faith to believe what we have not seen.
Collect for the Feast Day of Saint Thomas
Everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in your Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (“The Book of Common Prayer,” page 237)
The Rev. Lisa R. Neilson
Vicar for Pastoral Care
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