Friday, February 3, 2017
A Circuitous Route
Few encounter with Jesus stories are known as well and preached more than the one which belongs to Thomas. No one hears the name without attaching the label, "Doubter." On the afternoon of the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples who had gathered secretly in Jerusalem behind locked doors, but Thomas was not with them. And later when those who were present told him about their encounter with the risen Jesus, he would not believe them. Though they were trusted friends with whom he had spent three good years, the word they spoke about Jesus beating death was too much for him to handle. So, the middle name "Doubter" became a part of his identity.
Of course, he allowed himself to be persuaded to show up in the same place the next Sunday and Jesus showed up, too. To read the story of the encounter is to see that Jesus came that day for Thomas. While Thomas is known as the one who doubted, it is also true that he should be remembered as one who came to a belief that would carry him to his own moment of dying for the sake of Jesus. The story of Thomas reminds us that the journey of faith sometimes takes a circuitous route. The important thing was not his doubt, but his belief. More than anything else, this is what the gospel writer wants us to see.
There are many things important in our life, but none is more important than personal faith in this Christ who died and was raised from the dead for all our sakes. If the sum of all our encounters with Jesus brings us to such a place, then none of them have been in vain. Few of us always travel the road that goes in a straight line to the desired destination. Thomas may have taken a detour that afternoon of the resurrection, but he stayed with it through the confusion and came to a belief that sustained his life and carried him home. And, so it can and often goes for us, too.