Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reasonable Thomas

Yep, it was the Sunday after Easter, so the traditional Gospel reading was about "Doubting Thomas!" Here's the English Standard Version of John 20:19-29:

Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."

Jesus and Thomas
24Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "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."

26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." 28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

It's been bugging me the last few years that history has been ragging on Thomas.

The first section (vs. 19 & 20) relates that the disciples were hiding out from the Jews when Jesus appears out of nowhere and shows them his nail holes, gashes, etc. It is then that they recognise him as The Lord.

Unfortunately for him, Thomas was out on a donut run and missed the whole thing.

In the second section, the ten other disciples are trying to relate this amazing story, and Thomas is said to have made the statement about, well you guys got to see the nail holes, I'll believe it when I see them, too.

About a week later, Jesus reappears in the same fashion and, once again, shows off his marks to the last disciple, just as he did for the other ten.

Here's what I think people are missing: Jesus was actually snapping on the other ten disciples when he said, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Think about it! We don't know the exact body language or tone of voice our Savior used. Imagine him standing in front of Thomas, but looking over his shoulder at the other ten guys with a touch of sarcasm in his voice.

"Yeah, Thomas, some people won't believe me unless I magically appear in front of them and show off my nail marks. Some people made it their life's work to walk with me, observe all my miracles, listen to my teaching and then still doubted that I would fulfill my Father's prophecy. Some people would even desert me in my hour of need. Gosh, I hope you're not one of those people, Thomas! Oh, I'm sorry, Peter, is there something you'd like to share with the group? Does the phrase 'cock-a-doodle-doo' jog your memory?"

Hmmm. Or maybe he was talking to me?


Blogger furiousBall said...

And thus is the reason that donuts are sold in dozens - one for each disciple.

April 17, 2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Bardouble29 said...

Very impressive blog. I love the fact that you have your own thought on this. I too have often wondered if things were taken out of context...

April 17, 2007 11:10 AM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

Great post Craig! I have never thought of it that way and I think you are right. The other disciples had seen already and Thomas had not. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this.

April 17, 2007 3:48 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Weren't these incidents all written down a couple hundred years after the fact? I can't help thinking of the old school game of "Gossip." Gee. I hope the facts weren't changed in any way between the first telling and the one a hundred years later. You don't suppose that might happen, do you?

April 18, 2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

furiousball: I think Thomas was delayed at the Krispy Kreme because he had to convince them that he now only needed eleven donuts, reather than a full dozen. (Or maybe Peter made claim to Judas' powdered french?)

Wiz: As long as it's an "old school" game I'm "down" with it "in tha hood!" And don't forget about the myriad of translations and re-translations!

whim & bardx29: Obviously, I'm no theologian. Sometimes these sort of things cross my mind while I'm rummaging through the budget bin.

April 18, 2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with you. Thomas gets a bad rap. I'd probably have done the same thing. But then again, I'm a reporter for a living ...

April 19, 2007 12:22 AM  

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