One evening a week after Easter, the followers of Jesus are gathered again but there is a difference. Yup, the doors are locked. The difference is that Thomas is present. He had refused to believe the other’s reports of the risen Christ the week before but showed up at this gathering anyway. Do you suppose that in the face of his skepticism there was still a glimmer of hope? Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can pray and move mountains. I suspect that Thomas did not have enough faith to yell, “Glory, Hallelujah!” but he did trust his friends enough to try again. Some days are like that. It feels like we are holding on by our fingernails, dangling in space, and about to despair of life. We throw any pills that tempt us down the toilet. Our imagination runs wild. And yet we hang on with a whiff of faith.
On those down days, what is the focus of our faith? I confess that it is easy for me to bemoan my lack of faith and turn my eyes inward to my limitations. One of the beauties of this encounter is that inspite of Thomas’ weakness and doubts, Jesus again appears and invites Thomas to touch and feel him, “stop doubting and believe.” Jesus changes Thomas’ focus of attention from self and his doubts to look at Jesus. Faith is not something we measure like sugar. The question is not the amount of my faith but the object of my faith. When I focus on self, my weaknesses become glaringly apparent but when I focus on Jesus and his ability to walk through death for love of me, my perspective changes. I do not understand. I cannot comprehend. How can it be? That God, in Christ, would reach out to a doubter like me and ask me to touch and know that Christ is real. I suppose that is why it is called faith.
So where are we looking today? Is the cup half full or half empty? Are we looking at the half full version of the news and find Jesus missing or do we look at the only half empty but rising version of life. Jesus is willing to go through locked doors to answer our doubts. Let us look to him, touch and feel. And may we, with Thomas, say, “My Lord, and my God.” John 20:28.