The story of doubting Thomas was told from the wrong paradigm when I attended Sunday School. In hindsight, anyway. Yet, it was a story perfectly primed for culture at the time. It was the era of do what you're told. Thomas was the poster child for what not to do. Ironically, ahead of his time. He was a post-modernist in fisherman's clothing. As children, we were mandated to believe. Not having blind faith was cause for shame.
A good kid would never be like Thomas.
But, guess what?
The world changed.
As it turns out,
Thomas' story is our story.
It is the story of our time. Our culture has changed. Unlimited information is at our fingertips. We're busy. Many blame war on religious differences. Political polarity makes us uncomfortable. The list goes on.
Over time, some of us became disillusioned. Maybe answers from childhood no longer make sense, or church didn't mean enough, and busy lives left us not thinking about it much.
we have a rare, quiet moment when life suddenly turns upside down, or we're reflecting and turned inward. In this deeply honest space, we realize it does matter. There's a whisper ever so gently reminding us this isn't how it should be. Something is not quite right. And all that comes to mind is, how should it be? Questions still outnumber answers, yet we long for something. What we once put our hope in seems gone. Not sure where to turn, we stay put, confused and discouraged.
Thomas felt the same way.
He is grief-stricken. He is discouraged. What he thought was true is no longer true. Perhaps it was bad timing, but he wasn't there when Jesus came to the disciples after the resurrection. Hidden away in a room with locked doors, Christ appeared to the disciples and breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Such bad timing on Thomas' part.
In their excitement, they ran to tell Thomas this great news. His response? Probably just what you'd say in his state. The state being Missouri if I have my geography right. He says, "Show me."
Thomas is more than skeptical. He says unless he can see the nail marks and put his finger where the nails bore through Jesus' hands and side, he won't believe.
Well, so much for big talk.
The disciples take him to see Jesus. The moment he lays eyes on him, Thomas falls to the ground, sputtering, "My Lord, My God!"
So much for the hands-on biology lesson. He never did put his finger in the wounds. He did one better.
He spontaneously surrendered himself to Christ.
When we're in the Presence, we don't need biological hands-on verification, or any other science, for that matter. We simply know. His faith was stronger than his skepticism and discouragement.
The power of this story goes far beyond Thomas' doubt however. Or the disciple's faith. It even subtly upstages being breathed on by the Holy Spirit (and that's no small potatoes).
It tells us the lengths Christ will go to meet us.
That's the real headline.