How we are remembered, or at the least referred to by others, is often due to oneincident, even a moment in a life, and that becomes the mark of that life.Sometimes of significance, other times not.And this is so with the disciples.Peter is referred to more as the rock, than the three time deny-er.John being the disciple Jesus loved, a term he uses for himself throughout his Gospel. Not waiting to hear other’s assessment, declaring it for himself.
How many of us would be that bold?We have Judas the betrayer,and this morning Thomas the doubter.There is always more to a life than a one liner, a single moment.We can all thank God for that.As with Thomas. A disciple only mentioned in John’s gospel. When Jesus turned his face toward Jerusalem the disciples thought that it would be certain death for all of them. It was Thomas who said: Then let us go so that we may die with him. It was a courageous statement yet Thomas is not remembered for saying that. It is also not remembered that in this story of Thomas’ doubt we have the one place ofthe Gospels where the Divinity of Christ is bluntly and boldly stated.
The story that gives Thomas his infamous nickname, the doubter, is the same story that has Thomas making an earth shattering,confession of faith. My Lord, and my God. Not teacher. Not Messiah. God. It is the only place, only time, only person where Jesus is called God without qualification of any kind. You are my Lord and my God. These are no words of a doubter. And yet, this is how Thomas is remembered. Doubting Thomas.Though as Alfred Lloyd Tennyson once said: There lies more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds.
Thomas was as bold and blunt in his doubt as he was in his declaration of the divinity of Jesus. You may have noticed that Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus came amongst them that day as we heard from the Gospel. Perhaps he was not fearful as the other disciples and did not need to resort to gathering behind a locked door. Bold and blunt. Thomas had witnessed miracles and had heard the teaching of Jesus and had even been prepared to die with him. And even with this, he makes his demand for tangible proof of the risen Jesus. Taking the word of another does not suffice, is not enough for Thomas. He has his own criteria for believing, and community acclaim that this is so, is not one of them.What would beyour criteria for believing?What is your criteria?Thomas says he needs to probe the flesh of Jesus to believe. He wants a physical confirmation in order to be convinced.