First Sunday after Easter, 4/7/13
- SERMON OF THE WEEK
April 7, 2013
Next Sunday is the first Sunday after Easter. It is also called the "New Sunday". Some people prefer also to call it "Doubting Thomas Sunday", since the gospel reading for this day is always the story of how Apostle Thomas came to believe in the risen Christ.
Gospel Reading: (St. John 20:19-31)
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples
were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders,
Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you!�
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you.�
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy
23 If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord!�
But he said to them, Unless I see the nail marks in his hands
and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into
his side, I will not believe.�
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas
was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and
stood among them and said, Peace be with you!�
27 Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and
28 Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God!�
29 Then Jesus told him, Because you have seen me, you have
believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
The Purpose of John's Gospel
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his
disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus
is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you
may have life in his name
In today's gospel Thomas the apostle moves in from discouragement to disbelief to a wounded heart to an outcry against the other disciples and finally to a confession of faith in the living Jesus --"My Lord and my God "
Easter Sunday reveals a mistaken view held by Apostle Thomas, that he was unable to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. He doesn't stand dead on his disbelief. He did not remain faithless. In his case, it was an honest doubt.
He wanted to believ that Jesus had resurrected but had struggle at geat length with hard questions in a difficult circumstance. He had difficulty to accept a belief that was unworthy to do so. He refused answers that were too easy.
Yet, he was not a closed person. He remained open to belief. And he moved from honest doubt to honest faith.
Eight days after the other disciples saw and testified about the risen Lord, Jesus appeared a second time and this time Apostle Thomas was present. Jesus graciously invited the apostle to satisfy his need for proof, the glorious scars, to believe.
After their encounter, he moves ahead in faith: from honest doubt to honest faith, a faith enough to recognized that Jesus was standing in front of him. This is the Jesus the apostle know who was crucified and die on the cross, and yet have come to believe in him.
Jesus does not expect perfect faith from start. What Jesus wants us to have an open mind, not always closed to belief.
Jesus asks us to have an open mind so he can lead us and keep leading us, from honest doubt to honest faith.
Prepared by: Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil