Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter: Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God!

Seeing ... is ... believing.

When you think about it, the disciple Thomas is really more like each of us.

For Thomas, and in so many cases for us, believing doesn't happen without seeing. When the other disciples tell him, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas says to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

Thomas wants visible proof. He wants to see physical evidence that the crucified Christ has become the Risen Lord. Blood. Nail prints in the hands. A gash in the side. Forensic evidence is essential.

Fortunately, for Thomas, Jesus is willing to provide the evidence he demands. A week after Easter, Jesus appears to the disciples and says to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." The visible proof of the resurrection is undeniable, and Thomas cries out, "My Lord and my God!" This single sentence, seen by many as the climax of the Gospel, contains one of the earliest Christian confessions of faith: Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God!

But the scene doesn't end here with swelling music and closing credits. Jesus isn't finished with Thomas yet. He says, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Jesus wants Thomas and the other disciples to know that believing doesn't depend on seeing.

Believing isn't seeing. And seeing isn't believing.