“My Lord and My God!”

Thomas said to Him,  “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him,  “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:28, 29.

There are those in the world who try to prove through the Scriptures that Jesus was just an angelic-like being sent by God as the sacrifice or example of the way to God.  They deny He is part of the deity as well as dismiss certain texts which might even infer such a thing.  In fact, they explain away any texts which seem to directly state His spiritual nature might be anything more than being just a little more powerful than angels.  Most people believe He was a great teacher and a good man, but they can’t accept Thomas’ testimony about Him.

Why?

I don’t know all the reasons, of course, but the main ones are the plain ones.  First, if Jesus is God, that means everyone should listen and respond by obeying what He teaches.  Second, if they accept Jesus is God, there’s no more question about life in general, for life begins to take on a specific definition once it’s expectations are outlined.  And Jesus outlines life pretty thoroughly.

Thomas exclaimed Jesus as his Lord and his God.  Jesus accepted his statement without any form of rebuke for its content.  In fact, the only rebuke we see in His reply to Thomas centers on a question of faith not His identity.  So by this text alone we know John set out to establish Jesus as not only God’s Son in human form but also in deity.

Jesus’ real focus, however, is the nature of belief and faith.  Earlier, in John 17, Jesus prays for those who will believe in Him based on the testimony of the disciples.  Thomas got off easy, for sure, since he got the evidence most of us feel we need.  The Christian of today, however, must believe based on the teachings alone.  There are those, of course, who set out to prove the truth of the gospels by working miracles or doing outrageous things like handling snakes, etc., but the absolute best evidence for Christ is a life changed for the good by Him.

Years ago, when I was about nineteen, a Kirby (vacuum cleaners) salesman came to our house and demonstrated the latest and greatest model.  We were all impressed because, I mean, it was and still is a great machine.  I don’t remember how the subject came up but this guy started talking to me about working for the company, explaining techniques and praising its benefits.  I worked there 3 weeks and sold one used model so low that I didn’t earn any money at all.  Needless to say I quit.  Later, a friend tried to get my family into Amway.  My dad was convinced we could become rich so he began to buy the product and was gungho for quite a while until it became clear you couldn’t just socialize with your friends anymore but were always waiting to sell them on the product.  The other disadvantage was that to make money one had to get a lot of people buying and selling the products before even a hint of profit became significant.

The hype of these two businesses didn’t equal the sales’ pitch.  The backlash against door to door sales is still being felt today and online marketing has taken over a lot of the personal contact.  I know a man right now who has invested most of his retirement into online schemes for the last 10 years without seeing any return at all.  I’ve asked him why he keeps up with such a known scam and he says the risk is worth getting rich and comfortable.  The problem with all these get rich quick schemes is their glossy sales’ pitch pulls our eyes away from the hard work, sacrifice and dirty underbelly of those further up the money chain.

Jesus’ teachings never promise riches but more likely rejection, loss and persecution this side of glory (see John 15:18 to 16:4).  The difference between the get rich gospels and the teachings of Jesus is simple:  peace and hope.  Our hope isn’t based on getting some now but investing in a lifetime of wholeness.  The gospel changes our perspective on life itself, adjusts our values to match our hope and gives us peace no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in.  In other words, instead of money and possessions becoming the reward/evidence of our success it is just another tool to use for His kingdom.  Believers need money to complete projects, continue to build the kingdom of God and raise families, but the closer they grow to Jesus through His word the more they realize who really supplies it all.

The message is clear from our text above:  those who believe based on the testimony of the disciples and Jesus’ teachings (which comes under the testimony of the disciples too) will find a special blessing.

Why?

Simply because one must suspend a truckload of reasonable doubts to give oneself over to the truth His Word proclaims.  At the same time, I wonder if Thomas’ need and Jesus’ willingness to meet that need doesn’t say something pretty astounding about God’s heart toward the doubters among us.  For one thing, if Jesus represents the Godhead, then God’s attitude towards doubters who have reasonable problems with belief is more merciful and gracious than most Christians are led to believe.  For another thing, if He met Thomas’ need for proof, He will have to meet others with something similar to be fair.  In other words, I believe when Jesus comes again before He sits in judgment on those who will and won’t be saved, many who doubted before will accept Him on sight as true and fall down like Thomas in humble acknowledgment.

To condemn people for lack of faith in a religion misrepresented so often is to condemn the guiltless.  If the only examples of Jesus are a greedy pastor, judgmental believers, morally challenged “Christians” or a power-hungry eldership, can you blame someone for being not only confused but reluctant to believe in someone who has such bad representatives?  I don’t.  If Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it, then our first order of business is to work toward that end over anything else.  God will judge the world, so let’s leave that to Him.

Thomas’ confession of Christ came after clear evidence that Jesus was alive.  What’s our reason for believing?  Unless someone can claim to have seen a vision of Christ or met Him on the road to their own personal Damascus, we have to rest our faith on the testimony of men who died 2000 years ago.  Not only that, the merits of the gospel records have to be trusted despite the shadows of doubt that swirl around them.  To deny real questions exist about the authenticity of the gospel is to be blind and foolish, in my opinion.

Now here comes the good part:  Jesus pronounces a blessing on those who believe just based on the testimony of the NT gospels and writings.  I don’t know what form this blessing takes and, quite frankly, I’m pretty unconcerned about it—curious but not overly anxious to know.  Whatever form the blessing takes God doesn’t tend to be less than extravagant.

As far as Thomas is concerned, traditional history claims he died a martyr for his Master.  Seems he was pretty convinced, huh.

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2 Responses to ““My Lord and My God!””

  1. tlc4women Says:

    I’ve found that those who asked the most questions in a bible study, those who needed to know the why of things, who studied and read commentaries and the Hebrew and Greek of a word, were the ones who once believe were the most solid!

  2. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that many times those who seem to be the most astute with religion are the very ones who become the most vehement adversaries when they fall away. Some people just talk a good game. I’d much rather have a Thomas around than someone who just knows how to look the part.

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