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Posted by Comments:
March 28, 2016
Welcome from the Peace River country- northern
Alberta, Canada! I'm thinking of calling my
message "Je Suis Thomas" (a play on the
Je Suis Charlie campaign after the attack in Paris
some months ago, people around the world
identifying with the magazine Charlie Hebdo). I'm
thinking about how we are like Thomas, or that
Thomas is like us as post-moderns, in that our
default setting is doubt. This is not all bad
(Lord I believe, help my unbelief!), but a
hermeneutic of doubt eventually has to lead to a
conclusion and a confession- "my Lord and my
God!" This is a big leap for Thomas, and for
us. Monday morning thoughts!

Posted by Comments:
RA in KY
March 29, 2016
I just this morning finished reading Barbara Brown
Taylor's book - Learning to Walk in the Dark. In
it she looks at literal, physical, emotional and
physiological darkness as a gateway to
understanding the gifts of spiritual
"darkness", such as doubt. She shows
this it is in darkness (doubt) we learn to trust
God and know God from another angle. Darkness is
a beautiful spiritual state (if not an easy one)
to be embraced. Thomas may have been the first
Christian to step full into the "dark night
of the soul". We must walk through the
darkness in order to enter the light. And then,
the sun will set and we are in darkness again.

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
March 29, 2016
"Peace be with you!" Three times Jesus
made this pronouncement!: twice in the first
visit, and once in the second when Thomas was

This is very significant! And so we can safely say
there was absolutely no peace in this room that
Jesus entered.

The evening news aired a follow-up story on the
execution of Jesus; and they found Peter, after
much searching up and down the city, and asked
him, with several microphones pressed to his face,
what he thought about it. He said, "No
comment," as he ducked back into the house
and slammed the door shut, and bolted it.

The shocking story got out nonetheless, and it
revealed that a member of Jesus' inner circle,
Judas Iscariot, had turned Jesus in to the
authorities for a large sum of money! Furthermore,
none of the rest of his friends had testified in
Jesus' behalf at his trial. He stood alone, and
said nothing to accusation from his own religious
community, which turned him over to the Romans to
be crucified.

How could there have been any peace among a group
of people such as this? Everyone of the disciples
bore some of the tremendous guilt of that
horrendous injustice! It may well have been on TV,
because news like that has a way of going 'viral'
no matter what the technology is.

And then enters Jesus himself! ...

Posted by Comments:
Bob Jones, Bullhead City, Az.
March 29, 2016
"Peace be with you!" certainly does get
said a lot in John 20, but it may not be as
unusual as we might think. "Shalom
Alechem" is the standard way of saying
"Hello" in Modern Hebrew, though it
certainly has more content than the English
counterpart. It shows up in Luke's Easter account
(24:36). And of course, St. Paul begins nearly
every letter with the classic greeting,
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor.
1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2;
Col. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:2; Philem 1:3.)

Interesting thing, I took a quick look at John
White's "Light from Ancient Letters"
(Fortress, 1986) and I didn't spot the word
"peace" in many of the Greetings from
that collection of letters. Lots of charein
(grace--greetings) but not much eirene (peace).
The addition of "peace" in Paul's
letters may well be either a general Hebrew
influence or it may have come from Jesus himself.

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
March 29, 2016
Good to see you, Bob. The background on
"Peace to you" is helpful. I'll know not
put all my eggs in that basket.

Apart from this--
Reflecting on the disciples and what must have
been something of their mood, arising from having
heard about Jesus' resurrection (and probably a
heads-up: "He's coming to see you.")
from some women. It matters greatly to most of us
who the person bringing the message is and their
particular status.

Posted by Comments:
March 30, 2016
It is a marvelous gift Jesus gives his disciples
the first time he sees them together after his
resurrection. With his new life-giving breath, he
bequeaths: "Receive the Holy Spirit."
10 out of 11 received it; but 1 did not. [Please
ignore that I am ignoring the others who were
there; but I desire to comment on what happens
even in the inner circle.]
The 1 who did not recieve the Spirit caused the
10 who did get it to fail in their first Spirit
empowered message! Even with the Holy Spirit
behind them, Thomas did not believe!

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
March 30, 2016
In spite of the mood that prevailed among Jesus'
inner circle, Jesus gave this wonderful gift to
them, as you said pht, and along with it came the
need to forgive--"Any" --which I'm
thinking included the 'one' who wasn't there
(Judas, even). Those sins that disciples didn't
forgive would be retained, holding them back like
stones hanging around their necks.

The visit of Jesus had a grand purpose! This
visit wasn't just to bring peace and salvation to
the disciple but it was meant to outline a
peaceful way in which they were to move forward in
their relationships with each other; and this way
was modeled by Jesus himself --"As the Father
sent me I send you."

When Jesus enters the room, especially the
resurrected Jesus, everything changes! No longer
is just belief in the resurrection or in the
historic Jesus enough, Peter and the rest must
both live and relate to others in a new way. Life
from then on must take on that quality found in
the man Jesus himself: the grace and the power of
both forgiveness and deliverance and healing must
be evident in all they do.

The city has not changed in the mean time, but
they come out into the world from that depressed
room empowered people to bring changes wherever
they go.

Posted by Comments:
March 31, 2016
It is marvelous what the Holy Spirit can do! Let
us unleash it as extravagantly as Jesus did and in
so doing be blessings to the world. Still we will
need to be ready for those who responded like
Thomas did when first he heard the news!

Posted by Comments:
Rick+ in Reno
March 31, 2016
Thinking of Thomas, I keep hearing the Carpenter's
song in my head: "I'll never fall in love
again!" He loved Jesus and was willing to
die with him (John 14.) How crushed he must have
been. So, to keep his heart safe, he refuses to
believe... it hurts too much to believe.

An invitation to the doubters, those who have
loved and lost, those who have been hurt by

Posted by Comments:
Bob Jones, Bullhead City, Az.
April 1, 2016
Interesting insight, pht. I had never thought
about Thomas's "doubt" as a result of
the others' failure to effectively communicate the
Gospel. Their testimony was nearly identical to
Mary Magdelene's (John 20:18). But obviously
Mary's testimony was not enough to overcome the
fear of the 10 that prompted them to "lock
the doors" (20:19).

That Jesus, risen from the dead, overcomes our
fears and locked doors is Good News indeed!

It seems to me that Thomas's "doubt"
simply expressed a desire for precisely what the
others had received: Jesus showed them his hands
and his side (20:20) and breathed upon them
(20:22)--talk about intimate! Mary had "held
on to him" (20:17). Thomas may have been
more "tactile" in his demands--to place
his finger in the nail print and his hand in
Jesus' side, but it was not really different from
what the others had already experienced.

Looked at another way, Thomas's "sin"
was not so much doubt or disbelief as it was
missing church on the wrong Sunday.

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
April 2, 2016
RA: "We must walk through the darkness in
order to enter the light."

Another week of thinking about this statement
would be nice. I think the needed walk in darkness
has something to do with recognizing our condition
and our need to change.

Posted by Comments:
Rabbi in IL
April 2, 2016
This close to April 1st, and nobody's alluding to
Thomas worrying it's a prank?

Posted by Comments:
April 2, 2016

Posted by Comments:
April 2, 2016

Posted by Comments:
April 2, 2016

Posted by Comments:
April 2, 2016
Somehow my observations didn't "take."
Briefly, Thomas is our contemporary representative
among the disciples with hs cynical, practical,
and observational comment in the Gospel of John.

Posted by Comments:
April 2, 2016
Thomas was not going to be swayed by the notion
that the rest believed therefore he should too. He
wanted to believe, but based on his own
observations. While faith is believing without
seeing, we do need to be careful when we allow our
faith to be swayed by the majority. It was the
majority of believers who crucified Jesus. The
beliefs of the majority did not alter the truth of
who Jesus was.

Posted by Comments:
April 2, 2016
Bob mentions Thomas possibly wanting what the
others seemed to have. This often happens when
seekers are first drawn to our Christian
communities. They are seeking that which
Christians seem to have in their lives, something
that is missing from theirs, yet they do not know
what. How can you believe what you do not know,
yet the desire, the seed, has been planted.

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
April 2, 2016
huspean, thank you for this perspective. You're
absolutely right about the perils of 'going along
with the majority.'

I've never thought about Thomas in this light:
that his unbelief was a much needed element in his
journey to faith. Of course everyone is not the
same, and the level of unbelief seen here may be
far higher than most -- therefore this helps
everyone along the way, no matter how hard it is
for them to believe. This is good news; Thomas is
good news; and we shall all be part of the good
news story.

When Jesus was telling the disciples to forgive,
he was probably thinking about Thomas as well--
for them to forgive him his unbelief. Peace!
Peace in heaven and peace on earth, beginning with
those who believe! (Believing not only Jesus and
his resurrection but his words...)

Thank you for shedding this light. It's was much

Posted by Comments:
Rabbi in IL
April 2, 2016
Perhaps we ought to use this opportunity to remind
the faithful to be more patient with the
unbelieving/unconvinced. After all, they have not
yet experienced the risen Christ as we have!

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Frank Schaefer for, 2005

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