My Lord and my God: 2 April

Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.jpg

The Incredulity of Thomas, had been frequently represented in Christian art since at least the 5th century, and used to make a variety of theological points. Jesus appeared and told Thomas to touch Him and stop doubting. In the painting by Caravaggio, Thomas’s face shows surprise as Jesus holds his hand and guides it into the wound. The absence of a halo emphasises the physicality of the risen Christ.

John 20 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ 28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

1 Peter 1  8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Thomas was not the kind of gullible soul who would buy the Sea of Galilee just because some trickster said it was for sale. Thomas had been there the night we know as Maundy Thursday, when Jesus had shared the bread and the wine with his closest friends. He had either seen Jesus’ death with his own eyes or heard enough reports to become convinced that his Master was truly dead. So he was not going to quickly accept the resurrection tales.

Jesus helped Thomas to realise that only when we are ready to believe in the Resurrection can we be saved. Paul said much the same thing: "If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). This miracle is the centrepiece of the Christian faith. No one becomes a Christian by merely believing in Christ’s teachings. Christianity is not the acceptance of a lot of "be-good" doctrine.

So Thomas believed. He cried, "My Lord and my God," to which Jesus responded, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who believe without seeing" (John 20:29).

The greatest evidence of the living Christ in our day is that we, later in time, have been given the faith to see and believe. We know he lives not only because he came out of the tomb on Easter morning, but because he lives within our hearts.

Lord, in this coming Easter weekend, help me experience your life again, to believe what I cannot always see but which I know to be true: that you are "my Lord and my God. "