It’s difficult in today’s landscape to not be witnesses of a major event. Even if we are thousands of miles away on a different continent, we can all be witnesses of said event – whether celebratory or disastrous – due to cell phones, police body cameras, and social media.
Obviously, that wasn’t the case during Jesus’ time.
Near the end of John’s Gospel, we read the doubts and later confessions of Thomas, one of the Twelve who missed the earlier appearance of the resurrected Christ in the upper room. While his doubts can be difficult to hear, especially considering everything he has witnessed and heard, Thomas is an individual no different from any of us. He is a person for whom faith will only be real when evidence of Jesus’ resurrection is provided to him.
Faith for Thomas seems elusive and impossible. Like us, he has heard the report but hasn’t seen the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection. While Thomas finally receives what he desires and so believes, John’s readers are challenged to believe without the same confirmation. But Jesus calls those of us who have accepted that challenge of faith “blessed” (v. 29).
As author Gary Burge says in his commentary on John, “Jesus is not an idea whose ongoing validity finds a home in our ideas or our ethics. Jesus is a person – he is God incarnate in human history – and in coming into history, he has left marks that we can see and measure and trust” (The NIV Application Commentary: John).
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