Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle: A Devotional Commentary

Judges 6:36-40 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.” It was so; for he rose up early on the next day, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. Gideon said to God, “Don’t let your anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once. Please let me make a trial just this once with the fleece. Let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” God did so that night: for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved,

John 20:24-31 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be to you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.” Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas. Thomas is often referred to as doubting Thomas but in reality he is unbelieving Thomas. Thomas missed church service one Sunday and missed out on seeing the ressurected Jesus. The other members of the congregation told Thomas about Jesus' appearance but Thomas just thought they were nuts. Thomas demanded physical evidence. The following Sunday Jesus showed up and provided Thomas with that physical evidence. Jesus ignored the Christological concerns who would argue that in order to be truly human He couldn't pass through walls and stood right in their midst. Jesus did not scold Thomas but absolved Thomas before Thomas even had a chance to apologize for his unbelief.

In the Lord's Supper, Jesus gives us His very body to eat and His very blood to drink but they cannot be seen. All we see are bread and wine but Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God is really there. There is great comfort in seeing Jesus' forgiveness of unbelieving Thomas. Some like to boast in their great faith but we all doubt from time to time. Our doubt and unbelief is worthy of God's eternal punishment but instead of condemnation Jesus comes and brings forgiveness.

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