John 20:19-31 tells us a very human story. This is the story of Thomas (also known as Didymus or the Twin). Thomas was the one who made the comment about dying in Jerusalem when they were headed to see Lazarus, “Lets us go so that we may die with him”. (John 11:16). Thomas was a wholehearted believer in Christ to the point that he was willing to give his life.
Then the unthinkable happens. The man who was supposed to save the world, and change everything DIES before anything happens. All those years of learning and growing, lost. All those hopes and dreams dashed upon a wooden cross. The agony that Thomas was feeling was beyond measure. His sense of purpose was completely derailed. For him the future was far from sure. He was in pain.
This is about the most human thing John could have had in his writing. The doubts that Thomas had are the same doubts we all have. How many times have we questioned God in our lives? How many times have you and I felt that God has run off, or that we have pushed God too far? How many times have we felt abandoned and alone. Thomas is “every man” to you and me. We are right there with him in hurt and loneliness.
So, it isn’t surprising what he says to the others who have seen Jesus. “Unless I can see the mark… and put my hand in his side, I will not believe”.
Why did he say this? Because it hurt too much. He believed, he preached, he traveled all for the Kingdom of God and now the world has taken Christ away. The world has won.
How many times have we felt that way? We try to do the right thing, only to be punished for it. We try to tell the truth, only to have the world lie even more. We try to teach love and hope, only to have hatred and anger spewed upon us. We get Thomas, we get it.
But folks, Christ does not abandon, nor does He forget. He purposely showed Himself to Thomas, He confirmed Thomas’ requirements. Jesus showed Thomas that all was not in vain.
My friends, we go through dark times, it is the human condition. At times we feel all alone and without comfort or hope. Sometimes it is a struggle to stay true to the Word. But Christ never, ever, ever, ever leaves us. He is always there, even when we feel so alone. Christ never deserts us.
I don’t know what you may be going through right now. I don’t know what doubts you may have, but I would like you to remember this; Thomas doubted and went on to be a world changer and disciple maker. Thomas was where you may be right now, and Christ did not give up on him.
And Christ will not give up or abandon you. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Shalom my friends.
See you in church.
Rev. Kent Wilfong is the pastor at the United Methodist Church, Doniphan/Neelyville.