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 it. (Thomas to the Disciples, John 20:25)
Today I had to pick up a few things at the grocery store and I was reminded how quickly Easter is rushed away. The baskets, candy, and stuffed animals are being sold at half price. Wasn’t it just a few hours ago we were celebrating the resurrection of our Savior? I know the stores don’t necessarily have a concern for that. Their concern is to move merchandise. It was the same at Christmas time. Everything came in and moved out. People were in a rush to buy it. But most forgot to celebrate the Truth behind the story of Christmas. My hope is that the meaning of Easter will not be lost on the shelves of merchandise.
We as Christians have an opportunity to celebrate the RESURRECTION of our Savior every day. We can do it in the way we live for Him. We can choose to bring the meaning of Easter alive to those around us.
Thomas came face to face with the meaning of Easter. There were no chocolate bunnies to distract him, no colored eggs to hunt for, and there was no Easter basket waiting for him. I’m not saying any of these things are wrong in and of themselves. In fact, if you look back to where these things originally came to be part of our Easter… you will find that missionaries embraced some of it to reach those who were not yet saved (Wikipedia). Okay, back to Thomas. Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared on that beautiful day the tomb was empty.
We are not sure where he was, but we do know that when he came to be with the disciples he didn’t believe them. Imagine the enthusiasm in the disciples voice when they shared this great news about Jesus! They said, “We have seen the Lord (John 20:25, )!” Then to their great dismay, Thomas does not believe them. Many look at this and have now come to know Thomas as a doubter. But he was a tremendous follower of Jesus. Let’s look back in the Gospel of John to see the character of Thomas.
Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16)
The background behind this text is fascinating. Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was dying. Jesus expressed His heart in that moment and let those around Him know Lazarus sickness would not end in death. This would be an opportunity for the Son of God to be glorified. He waited two days before letting His disciples know they would leave for Judea. The disciples were not excited about this news. They feared Jesus would be harmed because the last time the Jews tried to stone Him. Jesus answer is priceless, but it would seem only one is listening. Here is His answer.
“Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.” (John 11:9)
This may sound simple and quite to the point. But please think about it further. Think about the meaning according to Scripture. What would Jesus mean by this? He has direct access to the Father. In Jesus, there is no darkness. When we have fellowship with Jesus we are walking in the light. When we are disobedient, holding unforgiveness, resentful, angry, disrespectful, etc. we do not have fellowship with the light. To walk in anything other than God’s purpose for our lives is to walk in darkness and that is when we stumble. Will you walk in the light and have fellowship with Jesus or will you stumble in the darkness?
“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)
The exchange between Jesus and the disciples continued for a couple more verses. They still didn’t get it. It’s okay not to get it sometimes. Jesus will still lead you to the next place He has for you. Just follow Him obediently when He calls you to follow Him.
This is the part that blesses me. Thomas spoke up. He may not have understood the fullness of what was going on either, but He knew one thing for sure… His Master was calling him to go to Judea and he was going to follow, even unto death. This is Thomas reply.
“Let us go that we may die with him.” (John 11:16)
Do you still think that Thomas is a doubter or just maybe he might have the characteristics of a leader? Just maybe he was caught in a moment of weakness! Just maybe for a moment he needed reassurance! Just maybe for a moment he was grieving the loss of his Savior!
Dear Father God, I watch the Easter candy and baskets fly off the shelves at half-price. But I know in my heart there was nothing half-price about what You did on the cross! You gave Your One and Only Son for me! May I celebrate that all year long! May I never forget the difference that the cross has made in my life!
Living the Difference,