Thomas - The Believer
Updated: Apr 24
As a nation there are so many people we should be thankful for. On Thursday night I stood by the gate at the end of my drive clapping for all the ‘essential’ workers. As I did so a vehicle went past and the occupant waved appreciation.
Who was he? What did he do? I do not know the answers to these questions but it was a good reminder that there are lots of people who are standing in between a potential life and death gap. A few weeks ago I started to write a list of essential workers, so that I might hold them in prayer. The list is several pages long and is ever growing, I thank God for these people.
I thank God for Jesus who also stands in the gap between life and death. In the gospel of John, found in the New Testament of the bible, Jesus says “I am the gate between life and death”. In the middle of the gospel (chapter 10) he tells his followers that he is like the gate for the sheep and those who come through will be saved. As the Good Shepherd he said he was willing to die for his sheep, which he did at Easter. By the end of the gospel (chapter 20) the disciples are behind locked doors, in fear of the Jewish authorities; they had just experienced the death of Jesus on the cross and were now in fear for their own lives.
As they grieved for their friend Jesus they were trying to make sense of what had happened earlier in the day: Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb that morning and found the stone rolled away from the entrance. She did not know what to make of it, so she went and told two of the disciples who went back to the tomb with her to investigate. Seeing the grave clothes neatly folded and the tomb empty they still did not understand what had happened and went back home.
Mary was overcome with grief that someone had moved the body, she saw a gardener and asked him if he knew where Jesus’ body was. But suddenly she realised that the gardener was Jesus. He told her that he would soon be going back to God his father, and filled with joy she went back to tell the other disciples as Jesus had told her to.
Later that day as the disciples were behind locked doors not knowing what to make of the recent events, Jesus stood in the middle of them all. They saw the wounds in his hands and his side and he told them to be at peace, which calmed all their fear. These disciples were now changed men for they had seen the Lord. They might not have been able to explain what it all meant but they had seen the Lord and that’s all that mattered to them.
Thomas, a follower of Jesus, had not been there with them. When they told him, he just couldn’t believe them, it was all far too much for him. Thomas needed concrete evidence and wondered what on earth had happened to these men he’d known for the last few years.
A week later though as the disciples were once again cowering behind locked doors Jesus stood in their midst and gave them his peace. Jesus said to Thomas: here is the evidence, and asked him to touch his hand and his side. Whilst we don’t know whether Thomas did this, we do know that he uttered some of the most significant words in the gospel: ‘my Lord and my God’. Without doubt the most important words of his life.
This was the moment for Thomas when Jesus became more than a man; he became his Lord and his God. Seeing Jesus, Thomas’s view changed. He now related to Jesus as his Good Shepherd, as his Lord and his God. Thomas left his previous relationship with the man Jesus behind him and started a new relationship with Jesus his Lord.
Jesus stands in the gap between death and life. Easter challenges us to choose either one. If we choose life, Jesus stands as the gateway by which we join with Thomas in saying, my Lord and my God.