Sunday, April 23, 2017
“My Lord and my God”
John 20:26 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.” 27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Thomas’ interaction with Jesus comes as a climax, for now the entire discipleship community is embracing the resurrection. Thomas is the last to finally believe and it is his response that is surprising in its theological grasp. To declare Jesus Lord and God is to begin to understand the very nature of Christ who was human and divine. The Son is like the Father in that he is truly God. He is also truly human for the wounds in his flesh are those of a man who has suffered greatly. The declaration becomes the culmination of a faith statement by all of those who are embracing the resurrection and are then ready to assume their responsibility within the life of the new church that will be birthed on Pentecost.
Last evening my husband and I were taking a walk down a beautiful pathway that leads to the Plaza in Kansas City. It’s the old Trolly Track and is often filled with joyful runners, bikers and those like us, walking. As we crossed one street to meet up with the path on the other side we encountered a young family. A father, mother and two young children were standing there on the pathway and as we neared they seemed to want to speak to us. The woman spoke up and said, “Do you have any questions about Jesus?” We told her no, that we really didn’t and that actually we were both ministers and had just been talking about the Lord while on our walk. She seemed a bit surprised but shared with us that they attend an urban church in downtown Kansas City and have felt that they need to ask people if they have questions about Jesus. She was delighted to tell her daughter that we knew Jesus. We then parted and went our separate ways but I was impressed with her willingness to publicly declare that she knew Jesus. I recently read about a well-known atheist who is quite disappointed when professing Christians don’t try to share their faith with him. His point was that if we actually believe that we can have eternal life with Christ and it means that much to us, why wouldn’t we want to share that news with other people? A bit convicting!
The woman on the street asked if I had any questions about Jesus. The reality is that probably most people have questions about Jesus and even those who consider themselves Christians may not really understanding. This profound declaration by Thomas is rather mind-boggling. We embrace Jesus who died in the flesh and yet worship him as our God. This changes everything! The man whom we follow leads us to a place in which we can be adopted into God’s family. Jesus who came in the flesh made it possible for all flesh to have intimate fellowship with the Triune God. It’s a bit overwhelming. It was for Thomas and yet, when he finally grasped the moment, he was changed forever.
What would we declare today if we were asked about Jesus? Can we really embrace that Jesus is Lord and God? If so, then we would live our lives in a way that reflected that belief. I feel convicted and wonder about my own personal declarations of Jesus. It’s easy enough to do it behind a pulpit — everyone expects you to do it there. But what about on the street, in the plane, in a car, or in the line at McDonald’s. Is there something about my life that reflects an encounter with the risen Lord?
We continue to live in the Easter Season and along with the disciples, we may have doubts, but there comes a time when those must be put aside. We embrace the risen Lord and declare that he truly is God. The world will never be the same.
Lord, please help me to live as one who has felt your scars. Amen.