Reflections: St. Thomas, Apostle

December 21, 2023   

Today’s Reading: John 20.24-29

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 42:1-25; Revelations 9:1-12

but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Thomas was faithful to his Lord in the end. Now, doubting Thomas really isn’t the best construction to put on him. So let’s call him “reassured” Thomas. Thomas wasn’t there that night when Jesus appeared to His disciples. Thomas wanted to believe his brother disciples, but dead men don’t rise.

Eight days later. Thomas was now with them, longing to be reassured by the disciples’ account. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”” These eleven disciples, despite ten of them having seen Jesus, are still hiding behind locked doors. Their fear, Thomas’ doubt and need for bodily reassurance are present in this locked room. Despite this, Jesus came to them, He stood among them and absolved them and said, “Peace be with you”.

It’s not all about Thomas. It’s not about the faith of the eleven. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus who was crucified in front of them, bled and died in front of them. Who rose and appeared to them. This Jesus who’s chosen twelve betrayed, and deserted Him, are absolved. Just as He came to them and pointed to the marks that He is Christ the crucified and risen Lord, He comes to you. He comes to you through your pastor and when you confess your doubts, your fears, and your failures, you hear just what Thomas and the ten heard. “Peace be with you.” “Your sins are forgiven.” Not only that, but He gives you His body to eat and His blood to drink under the simple means of bread and wine. All this He gives, just as these words were written down, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” 

Thomas’ faithful proclamation is your proclamation. That by faith and not by sight you have received the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation in Jesus. In Jesus your doubts are reassured, and your fears calmed. Thanks be to God, for His servant Thomas who proclaimed Christ crucified to the nations, to comfort those who doubt, and reassure them that Christ has come and will come again for you.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty and ever-living God, You strengthened Your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in the resurrection of Your Son. Grant us such faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that we may never be found wanting in Your sight; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

-Vicar Justin Chester is vicar at Shepherd of the City in Fort Wayne, IN.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.