Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Sunday Word

Jesus presents his followers with life-changing event. But one of the disciples, Thomas, is out of the room when Jesus makes his presentation. He doesn't believe what the others tell him about Jesus' return and says, "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."

For Thomas, this talk of resurrection seems pretty wobbly. He wants proof.

So one week later, the disciples are gathered again, and this time Thomas is in the house. Jesus pops in and offers them his peace. Then he 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."

Thomas receives the proof he needs and answers, "My Lord and my God!"

Then Jesus says to Thomas, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

That's where we find ourselves standing today: We cannot put our finger in the hands of Jesus, or our hand in his side. We cannot take the place of Thomas and see the risen Jesus face to face.

Or can we?

In the final judgment of Matthew 25, Jesus says, "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me."The message of this passage is that we welcome Jesus our king whenever we welcome a stranger, and that our place in God's eternal kingdom is connected to the place we make in our own lives for those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison or a stranger to us.

So if you want to see the risen Jesus, welcome a stranger. If you want to experience some real faith, show hospitality to people in need.

This is a workout that will move you from doubt to faith and make you a stronger, healthier and more vigorous Christian.