Reflections: December 21, 2020
St. Thomas, Apostle
By Bradley Drew
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 20:25)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It must be Christmas already, for Jesus does not condemn Thomas for his unbelief. He simply chides him. Doesn't Jesus know unbelief damns? How dare Jesus be so indifferent about the sanctity of our believing? No, thank God for such indifference, because nobody believes as they should. No one believes their sins are always forgiven or that God is always kind and good. No one always thinks God is in control and not chance or fate. No one is righteous like that.
Does that make the promise and joy of Christmas less real for us? Absolutely not. For Jesus' resurrection is the Father's promise that Jesus' birth, Jesus' life, and Jesus' death have saved us from anything and everything we have ever been, ever are, or ever will be. All of our doubting, all of our questioning, all the sad proof and fruit of our unbelief has forever been hidden from God's judgment by Jesus' death for us.
Your faith does not provide God with the reason or power He needs in order to save you. Merry Christmas, everyone! Jesus does that for you. His birth for you, His life you, and His death for you. Jesus is the reason for the season. Not Thomas. Not you. Not me. Jesus. For whoever and whatever we are, Jesus was born to become that for us upon the Cross. And He rose from all of that. For you. For me. For Thomas. For everyone.
What else would Jesus do, then, but chide poor Thomas? "It's not you, Tom, your smarts, your feelings, your works, your anything. It's Me, Thomas. All Me. For you." That is what makes and keeps you the Father's--Jesus.
Jesus, of course, isn't praising Thomas for his unbelief. He is saving him from it by speaking a word of pardon for it. "Peace be with you!" And did you know, that's the same promise Jesus speaks to you every day in Baptism? It's the same promise you hear from your pastor in every Absolution and sermon he speaks. It's the same promise Jesus feeds you with at His Supper, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins." "I got this. I got you. So, the Father does, too. Peace be with you."
God knows your fears, your struggles, your unbelief. It's why He sends Jesus every day. For you. That's peace. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
When Thomas first the tidings heard That they had seen the risen Lord, He doubted the disciples' word. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! ("O Sons and Daughters of the King" LSB 470, st.5)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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