Unless I See

I had two unexpected thoughts today, once in Bible Study discussing the Passover and the other during the sermon. You know how Thomas says, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe”? (Admittedly, I’m more pro-Thomas than many.) It occurred to me that here is a profound reliance upon the Incarnation. While Thomas should have believed from Jesus’ own words, surely we can understand him doubting the manic-and-rather-paranoid disciples.

Too often we fall short of Thomas’ willingness to follow Jesus: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16). But, likewise, we can say with Thomas, albeit in a difference sense, “Unless I see the resurrected Christ on the last day, this could be a trick or deception!”

As Christians, we look for the resurrection of the dead. And, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and [our] faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

We still look to the flesh-and-blood Christ. We look to His life and death and to that still beating God-made-man heart. As proclaimed in that astounding confession in Job 19:25-27:

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!

“Unless I see immediately” goes too far, as does, “Unless I see who, what, when and how I want.” But our Lord continues to come to us, through His Word and Sacraments. He is with us, to the end of this age and beyond.*

Thomas disbelieved. Still, he was restored to belief, and I treasure him very much.  I look forward to eating and drinking with him at the marriage feast of the Lamb. And, we will do so physically with hands and mouths, even as our eyes behold the risen Lord standing, looking as though once slain.

With Thomas, we will confess, “My Lord and my God!” The hands of Christ will be touchable once more, the reality of the nails and spear more visceral than ever, and finally all disbelief will be taken from us forevermore. Thanks be to God!

PS. I wonder if visceral is quite the right term. Hmmm . . .

*Stubbornly I avoided saying “until.” 😉

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