Devotion for April 18, 2022

John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The men who left the tomb remained in a room locked away, seized by fear of the Jewish leaders. Thomas was not there and as a result he gains the unfortunate moniker of “Doubting Thomas.” It could have been any of the disciples, but he was the one out, perhaps running errands or getting provisions for all who were hidden away.

If we are honest, how would we have responded? Would the fervor of the disciples upon our return have been enough to convince us, or would we too have responded as Thomas did? I’m afraid more often than I care to admit, I am like Thomas, not in the sense of questioning Jesus, but rather missing the evidence of Jesus’ presence when it has been nearby. So many suggest they want Jesus to show up in a moment, yet they’ve missed that Jesus has been present all along in the actions of others.

Lord, help us see you in the actions and words of others who have experienced you deeply in a moment, rather than starting with “I don’t believe you.”

This Monday devotion is brought to you by Campbell University’s Center for Church & Community.