It was resurrection Sunday and the gospel of John tells us that Jesus appeared to his disciples in the upper room. The disciples were amazed to see that Jesus had risen from the dead. But one disciple was not there: Thomas. The others tried to tell him the good news, but Thomas did not believe. Thomas wanted to see for himself. If he could only see his hands and feet, only then he would believe. Perhaps he was a sceptic. Perhaps he struggled to believe to begin with. He had seen Jesus die, perhaps the discouragement was too great. This narrative has given him the nickname “doubting Thomas”. Perhaps Thomas has been misunderstood. I don’t think Thomas was any more doubting than anyone else. Thomas just hadn’t seen Jesus yet. The others were there when he entered the locked room. He wasn’t. They saw him. He didn’t.
Often we label people who do not believe unfairly. Many people just haven’t had the opportunity to get the whole story. They know that people believe in Jesus, but they have never seen him for themselves. Every person who comes to Christ is a miracle. Because that is what it takes for people to understand who Jesus really is. John also tells us, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself”(John12:32). When we lift up Jesus, doubters can get a clear picture of the real Jesus. Only then can He draw people to himself. That is what Easter is all about. Jesus appeared to his disciples in order to turn doubters into believers.
When Thomas finally did see Jesus, when he saw his hands and feet he cried out, “My Lord and My God” (John 21:28). It took a clear communication of the truth about Jesus to turn Thomas from doubt to faith. But once he saw Jesus, his heart leaped in faith toward Jesus.
This year’s Easter service will be simple. We want to go back to the basics. We want to show people the true Jesus. Through the story, song, drama and testimony, those who may be doubting can see the real Jesus. And as we lift him up, we are praying that many will be drawn to him. Be sure to invite the Thomas in your life. And we will watch what God will do.