The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Thomas, who had been very bold and willing to go with Jesus and die with him after Lazarus had died, was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them on the day of his resurrection. Here, in John 20;24-29, Jesus comes again. Thomas had been stuck in his unbelief. He would not believe in the resurrection of Christ unless he had physical evidence. He wanted to see and touch the marks of the nails and the spear before he would believe.
People frequently say that they want to see scientific evidence of the resurrection. Of course, that is a burden of proof which cannot be met. By “scientific evidence” they mean evidence that the event happened and could be repeated. This is simply not a standard of evidence which is appropriate for historical events involving humans. We can’t set up the same circumstances. And, for that matter, when we say something is a miracle, by definition it is not something which followed natural patterns when it happened. What is enough evidence? The burden of proof should actually run in the other direction. Can someone please prove that Jesus was not raised from the dead? Could someone produce the body? When that is done, the Christian faith is done away with.
When Jesus appears, he already knows what evidence Thomas is asking. He offers that very evidence. It’s significant to notice what Thomas doesn’t do. He doesn’t seem to check. He doesn’t verify the evidence. He realizes that the resurrection is absolutely true and confesses it, whether he has put his eyes and his hands on the wounds or not. This is the essence of faith. Thomas has seen Jesus and believed. Yet blessed are those who believe without seeing. Is the report we have received from the first century adequate? It has not been overturned. We have contemporary accounts of the resurrection and of the other miracles of Jesus. There is no reasonable cause to dispute them. Surely Jesus is the Lord.
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