Do you attach conditions before you believe something? Do those conditions always get met or has something else thrown them out the window?
Thomas has conditions and they have to be satisfied before he will believe that Jesus has risen! The “Unless I…” syndrome brings with it a sense of power, control! Jesus must be “touchable”. Thomas needs to physically experience the risen body of Jesus, see the nail-marks and place his finger into the wounds, and his hand in Jesus’ side.
In a sense he is being perfectly reasonable, but sometimes such a mind-set can block meaningful and spiritual development, openness to life and all that being in relationship with the other teaches us! Of the three journeys of faith told in chapter 20 of John’s gospel, the conditioned response of Thomas is the most dramatic. He’s not refusing to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead, just wanting some certain predetermined conditions satisfied before he believes.
Jesus gives him what he wants and meets Thomas’ conditions, but issues a challenge at the same time, for Thomas to reach out beyond these conditions and his self imposed conditional belief. Thomas can have his physical proof, but there is more at stake: “doubt no longer, but believe”. Intriguingly, there is no description of Thomas performing this crucial touching ritual. It has fallen by the wayside and seemingly forgotten. The simple but profound acclamation of faith: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas’ journey of faith is completed.
What changed? Thomas encountered the risen Jesus and that was enough and all else just faded into irrelevance. The so-called conditions became meaningless. Let’s allow ourselves to be open to encountering, experiencing the risen Jesus in our lives and allowing his love, his light, to permeate every fibre of our being and let it transform us into being his true disciples who care for those in need and reach out to the vulnerable!
Yours in Christ,