Doubting Thomas? Or sensible Thomas? Poor bloke. He’s been given years of stick for doubting that Jesus had been brought back to life. We single him out as the disciple that didn’t believe. And yet, all the other disciples had seen the risen Jesus: Mary at the tomb, the others in a locked room. It was easier for them to believe. Thomas had been told that Jesus was risen from the dead, but he wanted to see for himself.
John’s gospel is full of signs and the writer tells us there were many others not recorded in the gospel. The people wanted to see, to feel, to experience the work of God through Jesus. And Jesus time and time again shows them. Jesus doesn’t chastise Thomas for needing to see for himself, but he does affirm those who believe without seeing. Thomas had heard the reports about Jesus’ resurrection, so perhaps our real criticism should be that he didn’t trust the witness of his closest friends—with all they’d been through together. But perhaps, sometimes, that only takes you so far.
It can be the same for us. We hear the stories of God’s transforming work from the pages of scripture, from the pages of history and from the words of those around us. We listen, we want to believe, we’re open to believing, but we need to see for ourselves. Thomas showed faith. He didn’t walk away. He wanted to seek the risen Lord. It is in that moment of faith that he discovered the risen Lord and is able to declare, ‘My Lord and my God!’ If we seek, if we ask, if we’re open to God, we will be shown. God meets us in our seeking. This isn’t just for our first belief in Christ. This is throughout our journey with Christ. In moments of despair, when we wonder if God is still present, if Jesus is still in our lives, if our hearts are truly full of the Holy Spirit, when we seek the pages of scripture, when we hear the stories of belief from those around us, when we sing the hymns we’ve come to love, it is okay, indeed it is good, to ask Jesus to reveal himself to us, to show us his full glory, and to again help us understand just what God has done for us.