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They say that seeing is believing. When we hear of something that is difficult to believe, we want the evidence of our own eyes.
Jesus’s disciple Thomas was like that. It was the week after the crucifixion had destroyed their dreams. The disciples were huddled indoors in fear of their lives when suddenly the resurrected Jesus was there among them.
Thomas hadn’t been with the others when it happened. He just could not bring himself to believe without seeing him for himself. Thomas gets a bad press because of this.
We often react to this wee excerpt from Thomas’s story as if we would have been less reluctant to believe. We carry our willingness to believe as a badge of faith. Poor old Doubting Thomas.
But is doubt a weakness? Or is it simply an opportunity, a space, a fertile ground in which faith might grow and ultimately blossom?
A week later, the disciples were gathered again in the same house where they had last seen Jesus. This time, Thomas was with them. Once again, Jesus came and stood among them. He greeted them again, ‘Peace be with you,’ before turning and addressing Thomas directly.
He said to him: ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’
Jesus’s words are aimed not only at Thomas, but at everyone who encounters this story, and struggles to believe that God is capable of doing the very thing that God has promised — call our world into new and unending, resurrected life.
‘Do not doubt but believe.’
Reverend William Crossan, Lorne and Lowland Parish Church, Campbeltown.