By Archbishop Glenn Davies, Anglican Church, Sydney Diocese
To be reminded of God’s power to save and God’s power to perform miracles.
“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:28-31).
The end of John’s Gospel account of the first Easter day and the events eight days later are full of surprises. It is the expectation of the disciples that is turned upside down. First, for Mary Magdalene; then for Peter and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved); then the eight other disciples of the original twelve; and then finally for Thomas. Although Thomas has been described as ‘Doubting Thomas’ due to his scepticism, the reality is that none of the disciples were prepared for what was to happen after Jesus’ death. This was not because Jesus had not prepared them, but they had found it difficult to believe, even though they had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet, it is Thomas who provides the greatest response to the resurrection of Jesus with his declaration: ‘My Lord and my God!’
Perhaps Thomas was surprised by Jesus’ supernatural appearance among them, despite the closed doors (v 26); or perhaps it was Jesus’ supernatural knowledge of what Thomas had said to the other disciples in private, when they claimed they had seen the Lord (v 25); or perhaps it was the vision of Jesus and his invitation for Thomas to place his finger in his nail-driven hands, and his hand in his pierced side (v 27). However, when confronted with the risen Christ, Thomas needed no further evidence, and so proclaimed Jesus as his Lord and God.
Jesus’ response is also interesting. He does not applaud Thomas for his insight, nor indicate how he came to that view (as he did to Peter at Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus told Peter that his heavenly Father had revealed Jesus’ true identity to him – Matthew 16:17). No, Jesus has a broader canvass to consider, namely all those who, despite not seeing Jesus in his risen body, believe him to be the Lord. That is us! We are the blessed ones, according to Jesus. For we have not had the privilege of ‘seeing’ Jesus, other than encountering him in the pages of the Bible, God’s word written, and by the power of his Holy Spirit our eyes have been opened to ‘see’ him for who he truly is.
John reminds us in the following verses that his Gospel has been written so that his readers can likewise believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that they may have life in his name (v.31). God is still surprising people, as they read the pages of the Bible and find salvation through faith in Jesus. Never underestimate God’s power to save and God’s power to perform miracles, even in postal surveys on same-sex marriage!
Our heavenly Father, we thank you for raising Jesus from the dead, overturning death and destruction, that we might become your children. Guide us in our discipleship to follow your commands and submit to the Lordship of your Son. Enable us to stand firm in these days of uncertainty, especially when your good design for marriage is under threat. Embolden us to be light and salt in our society to the glory of our God and Saviour, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AhBdElcDhs – The Story of Humanity
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- A Miracle for Marriage
- Truth to be Exposed
- A Spirit of Repentance in the Church
- Revival and Transformation in our Nation