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From doubt to doxology: A reflection on John 20

April 25, 2011

John 20.19-31

The end of John’s gospel.

Jesus’ friends are together. Scared. Cowering in community. Perplexed but full of hope.

Jesus appears. “Peace”

But someone is missing. Thomas. He didn’t get to see the wounds of the resurrected One so he’s not going to believe. He refuses to believe unless he can personally experience Christ. He’s not going to get his faith second hand, a hand me down from the others. He wants all in or not in at all. And Jesus graciously gives him the opportunity.

We are in an age full of those like Thomas. Our age is filled with doubt and skepticism that often hardens into cynicism. i know many people like this. I have been ‘that guy.’

Sometimes its justified. We are living in a time when the ‘body of Christ’ on earth, the Church has not always put its best foot forward. We have seen the rise and fall of many a greedy TV preacher turned whoremonger after making their millions off widows who faithfully watched them and gave sacrificially from meager retirement incomes.

Then there’s the child sexual abuse rampant in the Catholic church just a generation ago recently exposed. Alter boys and school girls became the victims of priests who were supposed to protect and nurture.

This list could unfortunately go on and on. Point being: The doubt and cynicism are justified when measured against the church’s behavior.

So how does Jesus meet this doubt and how might that inform our approach to it?

Well he is not threatened by it or offended by it. He just allows it and graciously but directly responds to it. Essentially he says, “Well if what you need is to see for yourself, here I am. Examine my scars if you wish.”

And then one of the most profound and theologically important phrases in all of scripture is uttered by the doubter, Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” His response is worship as he proclaims the divinity of Christ.

+++ Lord, in this age of cynicism and doubt please help your church to respond with confidence and grace and may many current doubters and cynics be brought to the joy of trusting you our Lord and our God! Amen. +++

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