The disciples have been huddled together for a week, terrified after Jesus’ body has been missing from the tomb. Thomas is out picking up some sandwiches or getting a breath a fresh air and misses Jesus’ visit to the disciples completely!
When he gets back they are all abuzz with their amazing encounter. Thomas is skeptical. Or maybe Thomas is just protecting his heart. He is grieving Jesus, he misses his friend. It sounds way too good to be true that Jesus could be alive. He wants evidence. He wants to put his hands in the holes that pierced his side.
And yet, when Jesus reappears, all of Thomas’ defenses fall away. Once he encounters the living, resurrected Jesus, Thomas doesn’t need proof. It is enough for Thomas to be in his Lord’s presence. Encountering the living God eliminates all his skepticism.
We live in a skeptical age. We live in an age where we just assume someone will eventually hack into our email or steal our credit card number. We assume all celebrities will eventually disappoint us and we just wait for our heroes to fall. We live in a culture that chews up half truth and scandal for breakfast every morning.
We arm ourselves with cynicism and sarcasm and dark humor, because we believe it protects us from our grief and fear. We grieve the loss of the world’s innocence and we fear for our own well being and the well being of those we love.
Thomas’ good news, is our good news, too. Jesus is resurrected.
The light defeats the dark. Love wins. No matter how hard the forces of darkness, death and despair try to attack us, ultimately Jesus’ light and love will defeat them. Sometimes that light may seem like a tiny flicker in a pitch black dungeon, but by the end of time that flicker of light will illuminate all of creation.
And we get to help spread that light by living lives that are full of joy and hope and trust—the antidote to our skeptical age.
At Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton I met a lovely woman from India who was a Keralan Christian. I had never heard of such a thing, but it turns out that when Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in Kerala, India in the 1480s to evangelize the local population, they found a thriving Christianity already present. No one in the Roman Catholic world had any idea this Christian community existed. What a moment of holy surprise for these priests to realize that Jesus had over 1000 years on them in Kerala!
The Keralan Christians trace their faith all the way back to a missionary disciple named Thomas. Thomas’s moment of faith in the upper room transformed his entire life. Legend has it that our Thomas traveled thousands of miles during his life, joyfully sharing his faith in Jesus across the world.
May Thomas be our guide as we discover with delight, over and over again, the power of the real presence of Christ in our lives. And like Thomas, may we share that delight with others.