Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reflecting Thomas

Just thinking this morning as going through scriptures, and how people reacted to a risen Messiah.
One in particular was the disciple named Thomas. Thomas was the thinker in the bunch chosen by Jesus.
A definite resonating in personalities between myself and Thomas. I am drawn to him more so than the other disciples because of our similarity in viewing the world and G-d.
To draw out a distinction between Thomas and another disciple would be Peter. Peter was the man of many words and outbursts(with and without thinking)and of physical action. Peter was the one on the ship seeing Jesus walking on the water and calling out, that if it was really him to bid him to come. With the welcoming call of the Master, Peter and only Peter left the safety of the ship to walk momentarily on the waves of faith.
Inside the boat were the other disciples, some with fear, unbelief and uncertainty. I can be imagine Thomas however, looking out of the boat, seeing water which will not physiologically uphold human weight. This is the mind of the scientific thinker; this should not be possible, how can water sustain a human being as the surface of ground?
His psychology is drawn out further when Jesus is explaining his departure from this earth. In John 14:1-4 Jesus explains that should trust him as they trust G-d. "Don;t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in G-d; trust also in me. In my Fathers house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you so. I am going there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be with me where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.".
Thomas then says in v.5 ; ".."Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way." There was no registering of the Messiah coming and going and coming back in the disciples minds, so for Thomas, he was not getting this as a thought of having a faith to believe in some future reality, a place of physicality that Jesus was preparing to go. This is why he could he wanted desperately to understand the way.
Jesus explains in v.6: "I am the way the truth and the life...". Thus Thomas struggled even more and we see this more clearly after the resurrection.
Post resurrection appearances to the women and to other the disciples including Peter, John , confirmed Jesus' reality. Thomas however was not there for this appearing. He got the eye witness accounts from the disciples.
First of all, dead men after three days don't rise up by themselves. Yes, Thomas had witnessed Jesus raise people from the dead, but to raise oneself, that's impossible! Listen to his response to the report; "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.".
Now this is a rational mind. This is my mind and my way of thinking. This is not faith but believing on account of evidence. Thomas struggled with the idea of faith in what he could not see and even what he did see, he wanted to figure it out.
As I think of this and reflecting, I can't escape that this is who I am. I can understand the huge stumbling block of having faith. Thomas did not want to be duped into fallacies and fantasies. This is why we do not see him jumping over the side of the boat unlike Peter. He wanted something real and tangible to hang onto so as to move forward.
This is how good Jesus is, he obliges Thomas' request and meets him inside(through locked doors) the house where the disciples were meeting. "Then he said to Thomas, put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.".
Thomas resounds with a statement of complete reverence and worship;"My Lord and my G-d!".
He finally believed Jesus, not at his former promises and declarations but physical proof.
There must be something to learn in faith in the unseen promises of G-d. So much so that Jesus says that ,"Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.".
Although I am a Thomas at heart, I truly would love to be a Peter, the one to not look at the water, but to jump out and walk on water. To be the one to rush into the tomb and see it empty only to meet the risen one.
Thomas later on according to tradition and some history took his "faith"and walked it to India to preach the word of Living Savior.
G-d is good and gracious, Lord help my unbelief and bid me come. Amen

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