Summary: Seeing is not necessarily believing.
“My Lord and My God!”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
How many times have you tried to give another person advice, perhaps a son or a daughter, and they didn’t listen…
…they went ahead and did the exact opposite of what you suggested they do…
…even though you warned them…
…even though you told them, that from your own experience and mistakes, you have learned the right way to do something and the wrong way.
You give them all this advice, along with information about how you had to learn “the hard way” and yet they go out and make the exact same mistakes you warned them not to make and that you made yourself!
We learn from experience, do we not?
And not from someone else’s experience, but from our own experience.
How many times has someone asked you the question, “If you could go back in time would you do it?”
And how many times have you answered that question with: “I would do it only if I could go back knowing what I know now.”
We learn from experience.
We learn from mistakes and from things that go well.
It’s just the way things seem to work in life and in faith!!!
Last week we saw how the risen
Lord first appeared to Mary Magdalene, and then Mary heeded the extremely important task of being an “eyewitness news reporter” for Jesus as she “went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’”
But, was Mary’s “eyewitness news alert” enough to convince the disciples or even Mary herself?
That evening we are told that the disciples were together, with the doors locked because they were afraid that the same fate which had befallen Jesus—the crucifixion—would befall them.
Despite Mary’s “breaking news” of having seen the risen Christ, they were still hiding behind locked doors…
…they were shaking in their boots “for fear of the Jews.”
It wasn’t until “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you,’” and then showed them His hands and side that the disciples believed the resurrection had taken place, but they still did not seem to understand it’s significance.
It didn’t change them all that much.
They still hid behind locked doors.
Have you ever felt as if your faith hasn’t changed you all that much?
Are you still hiding in fear behind locked doors?
Thomas gets a bad “rap” from those of us who refer to him as “doubting Thomas.”
Fact is, beginning with Mary who stood outside the empty tomb crying Easter morning telling the supposed “gardener” (who was really Jesus) that someone had stolen Christ’s body on down to every single one of the other disciples…
…they had all been doubting…
…they had all been clueless, is the better way to put it.
Jesus’ appearance to Thomas just happened to take place a week later…
…other than that it was no different from His appearance to the others.
We are told plainly in verse 20 that it was not until Christ showed the other disciples His hands and side that they “saw the Lord.”
We are all doubting Thomas or clue-less Thomas, or doubting Mary or clue-less Mary, or doubting Peter or clue-less Peter until…
…the Risen Christ…
…through His amazing and completely unmerited grace enters into our lives and speaks our name: “Mary, Peter, Phillip, Ken, Barbara, Valorie…
…Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, I am sending you.”
Has the Risen Christ yet appeared in your life and said this…
…bringing you peace and mission?
And even if Christ has appeared to you—bringing you peace and mission—you probably still have times when you doubt…
…you might still have times when you have trouble believing.
You probably still have areas of your life where you need to cry out: “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!”
The Christian life is a journey.
It’s not a destination.
And that is one thing that makes it so exciting!!!
I have always believed in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
It is what I was taught to believe by my parents and by my church.
I never had reason to doubt that these good folks were not telling me the truth.
I remember, very early on praying at bedtime.
And of course, I never had any problem…
…I never had any cognitive dissonance while reciting the Apostles’ Creed.
It was part of my life.
But, my faith wasn’t alive, shall we say, until the Risen Christ showed Himself to me.
Only then was I “awakened.”
Only then did the Scriptures come to life and take on a very tangible and personal significance.
Only then was I “overjoyed.”