Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!
This is the common call and response during this time of Easter. While often, people think of Easter just being the solitary day, it actually spans an entire season of forty days as the people of God celebrate the resurrection of Christ. What a joy-filled time to be the Church!
Easter was celebrated in a much more unique way than it has ever been. People watched streams online, pre-recorded services, or found themselves unable to join their church family in any capacity. People were locked into their houses. Just like the disciples were locked in shortly after the resurrection. Some had seen the risen savior, but when they returned and told the disciple Thomas, he said, ““Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
This denial of the resurrection is what earned Thomas the nickname “doubting Thomas”. However, it doesn’t seem like Thomas is doubting, he doesn’t say, “Oh, well maybe he did, but what kind of proof do you have? I’m just not sure…” Instead, Thomas says, “οὐ μὴ πιστεύσω“ I will NEVER believe.
The conversation went a little like this,
Disciples: Christ is Risen!
Thomas: I will NEVER believe!
John 20:24-31 states that after this denial, there were eight days until Jesus appeared to Thomas. In those days, Thomas denied the resurrection, in no uncertain terms. Christ’s resurrection is the lynch-pin of the entire cosmos, without belief in the resurrection, without faith, Thomas is damned.
It should be a sobering reminder to us today.
Thomas wasn’t a disciple who was timid. He didn’t exhibit a life of doubt. Thomas was the disciple who said, “Let us go that we may die with him,” when Jesus says he is going to Lazarus. This is the disciple who spreads the Gospel in Asia. Thomas (I’ve only just recently decided) is definitely my all time favorite disciple. I fall so short of the faithful actions of Thomas. And even he was “doubting”.
But he wasn’t “doubting” Thomas, he was damned Thomas.
Because faith is that gift that is only given by God. When Christ appears, he tells Thomas that those who believe without having seen are blessed. Then John writes, “ Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The scriptures are written so that the people can have faith. That God’s Holy Spirit may call, gather, and enlighten the people of God.
Thomas, seeing his risen Lord, finally gets it right after eight days when he says,
“My Lord and my God!”
During this season of Easter, may we find encouragement that our belief in the resurrection, this gift of faith, is ours. Given by God who comes through our locked doors and shares His peace with us.
Christ is Risen!