Away from the spotlight
If you tuned in to any radio, tv or internet service of worship today, it’s more than likely that the spotlight would have fallen on Thomas.
The reason that Thomas the Twin is now more commonly known as Doubting Thomas is explained in a post-Easter account in John’s Gospel (chapter 20, verses 19-29).
He was not with the other disciples on Easter evening, when the risen Lord came and stood among them. And who could blame him for declaring that he was not going to take what they said on trust – he would have to see Christ for himself, and touch Christ for himself, before he would believe that the resurrection had indeed happened.
A week later, according to John, Thomas gets his chance. His prayer (if that is what it was) is answered.
So, naturally enough, the spotlight now falls on Thomas, and the Lord.
If this were a theatre production, the stage would be plunged into darkness, apart from a light shining on the Saviour and the Doubter. All our concentration would be focused on their encounter. We would completely forget that there were probably another ten men in the room.
So what of these others?
In spite of what I’ve described above, when I listened to the gospel passage this morning, I did start wondering about the others.
What were they doing when Thomas was in the process of accepting the Lord’s invitation to touch his wounds? Were they standing still and silent and passive?
I find it hard to imagine Peter like this. Wasn’t he always the impulsive one, both in action and speech? Jumping into the water with the aim of walking on it. Jumping into the water to get to the shore first, having recognised his risen Lord tending a fire. Saying what others were thinking and saying it without thinking it through first.
The gospels give us these little snapshots of Peter, and I’d like to think of him staying in character, as it were. Maybe to the extent of saying, Please, Lord, let me also reach out my hand and put it into your side.
Let’s try putting ourselves into that room. Which one are you?
The one who needs a very personal encounter with the Lord in order to be convinced? The one who always stays in the background? The one who jumps in feet first? The one who listens well and speaks little? The one who follows rather than leads?
The good news is that there is no one personality type whom Jesus welcomes,
to the exclusion of certain others.
ALL are welcome at the table of our Lord.
"Happy are they who never saw me
and yet have found faith."
(John chapter 20, from verse 29)
Be blessed this Easter season.