Signpost for Sunday 3 April, 2013, 2nd Sunday of Easter (Low Sunday): Acts 5:27-32; Ps 118:14-29 or Ps 150; Rev 1:4-8; John 20:19-31.
I think I’ve written before about the fact that the Gospel reading today was intended to be heard primarily by the first century Johannine community of new Christians.
Like the disciples in the story, they were being harangued by the authorities, so they may well have met behind closed doors too.
They would also have been people who had not seen and yet had come to believe (John 20:31), so the author of John’s gospel is encouraging them. But I don’t think that’s the only way to read this story these days.
I reckon I would almost certainly have reacted exactly as Thomas did if my best friends had told me they had seen someone alive that I knew had died. And I don’t think Jesus has a problem with that. When he comes back to visit this second time, it appears to be specifically so that Thomas can have the benefit of proof.
Two things struck me while reading these verses yet again. Jesus doesn’t want any one to miss out. If you’re not there when he calls, he’ll come back later. The other thing, I think, is that many of us are just like Thomas: we can’t believe without something more than the story we’re being to told to go on. And for many people that something more comes from doubting. Not dismissing, but doubting. Doubt makes you question something. It also makes you look for an answer.
The way I see it, Jesus wants us to keep looking for him, because he never stops looking out for us.