Easter first forces us to encounter the dark but empty tomb. There is no Jesus to be easily seen. No flashing arrows with lights to point to the bodily risen Saviour. No early morning fireworks to set off to announce that the transforming work of the kingdom has begun. Not even the blast of a single trumpet to announce that the stone is rolled away. All that there was for noise, was silence. Does that prove the resurrection all by itself? Probably not, though the beloved disciple, when he saw the tomb believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Mary had seen him and spoke to him. The other apostles had seen him. He came to them behind locked doors and shared his peace and presence with them. But not just yet with Thomas – he wasn’t there when Jesus came to them. Thomas remained doubtful in spite of what others were telling him. He could dare to hope that what they were telling him was real. After all he had been there and had seen what had happened. He was willing to do what Peter said he was willing to do. He had been stopped, even paralyzed by fear.
Thomas had been the ideal disciple: quiet, thoughtful, considerate, and committed. He didn’t bumble into anything and was willing to follow Jesus to whatever end. Failure to follow had somehow separated Thomas from the others and so he was not with them to see Jesus when he came on that first Easter Day. And because of this wonderful news and incredible hope that they offered him he wasn’t content to “just get over it” He wanted for himself what others had been given. He wanted the chance to experience the presence of the risen Jesus like so many others had received. He needs such an experience to help him move from just existing to being really alive.
Faith ceases to be faith when it can be explained. Faith is for those things that are not seen and yet are still so very real. Jesus drives this point home in his encounter with Thomas. Stop doubting and start believing. Thomas was challenged by that and so are we. Believing and having faith is more than an exercise of the mind – it must also move the rest of the body to action. To fully believe one must participate in the life that is to be lived. And that believing comes with the invitation to each of us that we can come and see those wounds and scars. And once we have done that then we can actively proclaim, my Lord and my God!
So are you still paralyzed? You like Thomas are called to come and see. You are free to stop doubting and start believing. You are free to participate in the peace and freedom that Christ offers and you are free to live the life that he offers you. Come and see it. Then stop doubting, go and move away from the locked doors and empty tomb and go believe it in Jesus’ name.