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May 8 | John 20:24-31

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REFLECTION


Doubt that Leads to Joy

by Elaine Pierce


We are certainly spending a lot of time in John 20, aren't we? And with good reason. Jesus' resurrection changed everything for the disciples, and it changes everything for us. But it took time for them to fully comprehend what this meant for their lives and their faith. Today we see how Thomas came to believe, and I think there are lessons here for us as well.


For some reason, Thomas wasn't with the rest of the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them in the locked room. We don't know why, and we don't know what he was doing - scripture is silent. Perhaps it's not important, but I wonder...was Thomas off by himself, brooding? Filled with sorrow that the man he had followed for three years was gone? Thomas had been an avid disciple (see John 11:16). His faith in Jesus had been rock solid.


His fellow disciples eagerly told him about "seeing the Lord," but he refuses to believe "unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side." And a week later, he is with the ten (in yet another locked room). Jesus walks through this locked door, greets the group with "Peace be with you," just as he did the week before, and invites Thomas to see firsthand the nail marks in his hands...the wound in his side.


Thomas' response is immediate: "My Lord and my God!" This is the first time in John that someone addresses Jesus as God. Thomas needed to see to believe, but when he did, his belief was complete and unwavering.


Yes, Thomas had doubts, but he was not afraid to believe when he saw the clear evidence. So often I will harbor doubts. Will God answer my prayer? Will he hear me? How do I know? Jesus is waiting to show me the nail marks in his hands. He is saying to me and to you, "Stop doubting and believe." And when we do believe, what joy there is in heaven and in our hearts. No, our problems don't disappear. But we put them in Jesus' hands, and we know that He will give us what we need to take each day, each doubt, each fear, and rest in the peace that only he can give.

 

Dear Lord, indeed you are worthy (as part of your prayer and worship, meditate on this song

Help me to give you each doubt and each fear, and to trust in you. Amen.




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