Doubt is a part of our faith journey. At some point in our lives, our faith has been or will be tested. If you have a personal and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, at some point you will look to the heavens and say, “Why, why Lord? Why is this happening?” Why would a God of righteousness permit such bad things to happen in this world? Why Lord?”
- I can only imagine that the disciples must have been questioning God’s intentions when they barricaded themselves in a room following Christ’s death. The text tells us When it was evening that day, the doors of the house were locked for fear of the Jews. Well, the disciples themselves were Jews. Who are these followers afraid of? Do you know the phrase guilty by association? I think that there must have been some real, imagined, or potential fear, for Christ’s disciples because they were so close to him. After all, if the empirical authorities hung Jesus on a cross, what will they do to those who accompanied him on his journey?
Then Jesus appears and says, “Peace be with you.” In our darkest hours, in the times of our worst crises, in the midst of our suspense, anxiety, in our fearful state, Jesus comes and meets us where we are. The locked doors, the fear, the anxiety, could not stop Christ from being in that room.
- But Thomas, the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So, when the other disciples said, “We have seen the Lord.” He said to them, “Unless I see the marks in his hands and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Thomas’ words are quite sharp. In fact, the Greek word which is used for Thomas placing his hands in his side is ballo which actually means to strike or to punch. Thomas uses these sharp words to convey that he wants tangible proof of Christ’s resurrection before he will believe. In order for me to go out a limb for you Jesus, I want a guarantee. If I am going to invest myself fully in your life and ministry, I want a guarantee!
When our anxiety levels are elevated, we like Thomas, want a guarantee before we invest ourselves. Great love carries with it no guarantees. Therefore, we are often fearful of a full commitment unless we can predict our rate on return. A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Do not doubt, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord, My God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ When Thomas was at his time of great anxiety, Jesus comes through the locked doors. Christ drives through the barricaded areas, the very areas where we thought there was no opening.
- This unstoppable Christ can do the same thing for you and me. This unstoppable Christ can break through the barriers. He can drive through the barricades. This inexhaustible Christ can move through the places where we thought there was no openings. In the worst moments of Thomas’ life, Christ showed up in that room. He is with us when we face our greatest fears, challenges, and anxieties. Death couldn’t keep him. The grave wouldn’t hold him. The locked doors, barriers, and barricades, can’t stop him from being present in the most fearful, suspenseful and darkest moments. He is truly unstoppable!
Rev. David J. Harriss