April 28, 2019: Seeing Jesus for Ourselves

outdoor benches facing cross

Second Sunday of Easter

John’s Gospel is full of stories that we relate to today, but there might not be one more relatable than the story of Thomas and the other disciples in this passage. After the resurrection, Thomas was not present when Jesus first appeared to the other disciples. After hearing the news, he is not convinced they are telling the truth. Try as they might, the disciples cannot get Thomas to believe what they have seen. Instead of settling for their experience of Christ, Thomas wants to see Jesus for himself personally.

We might relate to Thomas because we too long for a personal experience with Christ. It can be difficult to hear about the work Jesus is doing in the lives of others when we are struggling. Why won’t Christ change my life as he changed theirs?

We also might relate to the disciples as we think about our faith. Time and time again, we share our stories of how Jesus has shaped our lives, but we are constantly met with doubt. It is discouraging to preach the good news when so many remain unmoved, like Thomas. How can we possibly share what our faith means to us in a way that will bring others to believe in Jesus?

However, we are not defined by our ability to convince anyone about what we have experienced. The disciples did all they could, and yet Thomas needed to see Christ for himself. Our lives as Christians are defined by our perseverance in keeping the message of Christ alive in the world today, whether it is embraced or rejected. May we never stop telling and showing others what the love of Christ is like. And may we do so in hope that, like Thomas, they will experience Jesus himself warming their hearts.

James Heroux, pastor, Freedom Moravian Church 
Appleton, Wisconsin