Easter Week 2 Message-“A Seed of Faith”
Text Source-Excerpts from John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
Easter greetings Peninsula United Methodist Church! Yes, Easter is a season, a season in which we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior-Christ Jesus. After his resurrection, the scriptures describe several occasions when Jesus appeared to his Disciples and followers. Today’s lesson recounts Jesus’ appearance to his frightened Disciples, who were now locked down tightly in a home for fear of what those who had crucified Jesus might do to them. Jesus entered the home, and he blessed the Disciples. He showed them his hands and feet, and the wound in his side. Then, immediately, the Disciples rejoiced in the truth that their risen Lord was, again, alive among them.
Thomas was not with the Disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. He did not believe them when they shared that they had seen the risen Lord. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe”, he said.
These words of Thomas have immortalized him, and all people who like Thomas doubt what they do not experience firsthand for themselves, as a “Doubting Thomas”. It is akin to the famous saying, “I’m from Missouri-show me!” Show me, prove to me beyond my doubts, I need to have a weight of evidence in order to believe. Oh how we want to know everything with certainty, so that we can make our decisions based on hard evidence and facts. What we want so dearly is the truth!
As much as we long for the truth to guide us in our decision making, the ultimate truth is that most of our decisions are made based upon the limited information that is available to us at a given time. Seldom do we have everything we may need to know, and certainly not everything that we want to know, in order to make life’s decisions. The truth is that life takes some faith-maybe that mustard seed of faith that Jesus taught us about in his parables. Sometimes, we need to dig deep beneath the surface appearance of things, holding on to the faith that if we seek deeply and sincerely, with patience, we will find it-the truth.
“Mouse” was a mechanic by trade. His real name was Tom, but everyone called him Mouse because he was so quiet. Mouse had liked to play around with engines and cars from the time he was very young. Becoming a mechanic seemed the perfect profession for Mouse. You see, he didn’t do very well in school. He barely squeaked by to graduate among the lowest students in his class (no pun intended!). School did not come easily, and the assignments never made any sense to him. So Mouse stuck with what he knew-cars.
Mouse was a very good friend of my Cousin, Fabian, who had recently moved from Rochester, NY to my hometown of Schenectady, NY. Mouse was from Rochester, and he spent one summer in Schenectady visiting with family and friends. At first blush, Mouse fit the typical stereotype of a mechanic. He had grease stains on almost everything he wore, and a healthy coating of it was always under his fingernails. And, of course, he was constantly fooling around with something mechanical-a bike, a car, my Cousin’s motorcycle.
Over the course of the summer, I discovered something about Mouse. It taught me a lesson about looking deeper than surface appearances to find the truth. I learned that summer that Mouse was actually quite intelligent. He had a brain malfunction that did not allow him to process what he saw through his eyes. But, Mouse remembered nearly everything he heard. He had a “phonographic” memory. He had difficulty in school because of the intense amount of reading comprehension the coursework required. Outside of school, Mouse discovered the world of audio books-and his brain absorbed them like a sponge. We had some wonderful conversations about topics he learned about through auditory media. Not everyone believed me when I told them how intelligent I had found Mouse to be. They had not seen that side of him for themselves, and they would not believe.
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.
Yes, blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have come to believe. It’s called faith, dear friends. We need it in our daily living, and we need it along the path of our Christian journey. A mustard seed of faith is all it takes. Jesus promised us that great things will come from just a tiny seed of faith. Individuals need faith, Churches need faith, and our world is sorely in need of faith.
And so, this day I say to you, blessed are those who can believe in what they have not yet seen. Amen.