Saturday, July 2, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith that has to be enriched 
St. John 20:24-29
 

Philip Manuel and Laila Anie Philip
Carmel MTC, Boston MA
29 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.”

Before we delve into the crux of the passage, let us reflect on the context of the passage and see it in the eyes of the disciples. Their master has just been put to an excruciating death on the cross on Friday. Saturday must have been a dark day for the disciples. Their lives must have been in deep gloom with no hope. The promises of Jesus had no meaning to them and they were lost with no future. However Sunday morning brings rays of happiness. They see signs of the resurrection. They hear Mary’s pronouncement that she has seen and spoken to the risen Lord. Yet that night, they are behind closed doors, in fear of the Jews. So doubts did creep into the minds of the disciples hence the locked doors. Jesus appears to them and their doubts vanish and they are strengthened in their faith.

Let us take a brief look at Thomas. We see Thomas as a pessimist as reflected in his assertion in John 11:16, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Thomas’ faith is unquestionable. He is ready to die for the Lord, yet when told about the risen Lord, he demands two test of the senses, seeing and touching. Thomas here is not accusing the other disciples of fabricating a false story. It is just that he needs to convince himself and he seems to think that this is the only way that he can achieve that. Yet when he sees the risen Lord, he does not resort to touching the wounds, but proclaims aloud, “My Lord and my God” Thomas' state of moving from unbelieving to believing is instantaneous.

Jesus, being Omnipresent and Omniscient, knew of Thomas’s demand, but did not discard or ignore it. Jesus wanted Thomas to think about his statement and reflect on his faith.(stew in his own juice”). Jesus waited for seven days before appearing before the disciples at a time when Thomas was also present. Jesus greets the disciples and turns His attention to Thomas. Thomas must have expected a reprimand, a rebuke, for here was a disciple who had been with Jesus for more than three years, had seen all the miracles performed and heard from Jesus’ own mouth about His death and resurrection. Yet he did not believe. Jesus did not rebuke or reprimand Thomas instead asked Thomas to touch and feel His wounds.

Jesus ends his response to Thomas with the Beatitude “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Jesus is talking to all believers and assuring us that He will be with us through all our doubts and fear.

We see the culmination of Thomas' faith in his carrying the gospel to India and establishing churches there.

The two main lessons we learn from this passage is.
1. Jesus is a compassionate all loving God. He knows our weakness and empathizes with us. He knows that we are daily tempted with doubts and fears and that is why He has left the Holy Spirit with us to fight our spiritual battles.
2. Jesus answers our doubts “In His time”.

This Sunday we are celebrating as “St. Thomas the Apostle’s Day”. St. Thomas came to India in AD 52 and established churches in India. He died a martyr death and is buried in St. Thomas Mount, Mylapore, Chennai, India.


PRAYER


Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the apostle Thomas who has brought many to Your feet. Help us always to remain in Your faith and love and be a channel of blessing to all whom we encounter. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy”.  1 Peter 1:8