seeing is believing…or not | John 20.24-25
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” John 20.24-25 | ESV
Now one of their number was missing from that empowered circle of joy – Thomas, the one they liked to call “Think Twice” or “Second Guessing” was nowhere to be seen when Jesus showed up right in the middle of that former huddle of fear. When he finally showed, they all jumped him with joy, “He was right here, the Lord was right here, and every last one of us saw him!” Thomas was totally true to his name. “No way, I won’t believe a word of it! Not unless I myself lay my eyes on the nail print in each of his hands and then can stick my finger into each of those nail holes and while I’m at it stick this hand right into the gash in his side. Nothing short of such hands-on proof will nudge me one bit towards faith. Period.” MAV
There’s a bit of Thomas in each of us, yes? We want to see, we clamor for proof, we hound after facts and certainty, yet always holding ourselves back as imagined impartial judges just waiting for someone to make the case – and there’s a whole apologetics industry ready to feed us in our egoic pursuit.
But the reality is that faith is more than seeing – or at least is seeing with different eyes. Hence, “we walk by faith and not by sight.” Which should make us stop and ponder a bit why we are all so all-fire obsessed with getting others to see our case when faith requires something more, something deeper than grasping our arguments.
Need proof, O Second Guesser?
Matthew relates that when Jesus went to Galilee and showed himself there to “his brothers” that when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted (Matthew 28.16-17). And no, this is not talking about Thomas in that upper room. Different time, different setting. Maybe this was the occasion Paul speaks of when he says that “over five hundred of the brothers saw him at once.” If so, isn’t it telling that only 120 evidently believed what they saw enough to actually stick around?
Oh elusive sticking place of faith!
When will you come home to rest in this weary, wandering, reason-wrestling heart?
Do you see your faith as more product of an intellectual process or as divine gift? Or both?
Explain (if you dare).
Lord, teach me how to see with those different eyes – those eyes from which fresh visions of faith arise. Give me eyes remade for wonder. Through Christ.