By Rev. Eric Brown
Oh great, it’s the Sunday where we get to hear about “Doubting Thomas”. That’s how we label him, right? There’s Thomas – you know, the one who doubts. Doubter. How’s that for a nickname for an Apostle! And yet, what do we hear? “Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked…”
Wait one second. What are the apostles doing inside behind locked doors? Hadn’t Jesus just sent them last week? And yet, there they are, huddled together hidden and fearful. But we don’t label them; Thomas is the one who doubts.
Sometimes our sins are open and obvious and everyone knows about them. Sometimes they become the label that sticks to us. That stinks. Sometimes our sins are private things, things that don’t get talked about because they aren’t as entertaining or juicy to talk about. Doesn’t make them stink any less. Doesn’t make them any less of a sin. And we can be tempted to start ranking folks, categorizing them by the obviousness of their sin, and treating them with “appropriate” disdain.
That’s not what Christ does. He shows up and says, “Peace be with you.” To all of them. Thomas and rest as well. Whether the sin is open and scandalous or not a soul knows it, Jesus knows what you need. You need peace. You need forgiveness. All of you.
“But Jesus singles out Thomas!” Yes, but only afterwards, and for Thomas’ good. Jesus doesn’t say, “Hold everything – we’ve got to fix bad Thomas before I can deign to be here” – no, He gives peace. And knowing the struggles Thomas faces, Jesus doesn’t cut him down – He simply emphasizes to Thomas that he is in fact forgiven.
Jesus always wants to do one thing with sin. He wants to forgive it. Even the secret sins, even the sins everyone knows about. Peace be with you.
Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.