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Easter's stories give us chances to view our own lives of faith and to ask deeper questions. We have become so familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas that we may miss how to ask these questions. People have pointed out for a while now how poor Thomas has gotten a bad rap and so the story has become familiar in another way now. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says that "...we walk by faith, not by sight". These Easter encounters with the risen Christ bring us to trying out our eyes of faith.

If we look at this story in terms of our own faith journeys, our encounters with the risen Christ would we find something different? We have come, for the most part, not to expect a disturbing encounter with the risen Christ in our lives. Usually for us it is some sort of trouble some sort of crisis that brings us finally into direct contact with the risen Lord.

Look at our story this morning, the disciples are locked up in the room for fear of their own lives, their own encounter with death and belief. They would rather save their own skins than acknowledge they were followers of Jesus. This is their own denial, their own fear, their own faith journey through death and belief. Jesus does not leave these 10 alone in their fear. He appears to them, scares them at first because he arrives even though they are shut in the room, and then he strengthens them, he breathes on them giving them the Holy Spirit, his own breath to comfort and guide them.

Thomas is missing during this encounter. He evidently is own his own journey, he is not locked up in fear, he is out on his own. Maybe he was getting supplies, maybe he was grieving at the empty tomb, we don't know why he isn't there, but we can know he is not fearful. He may feel left out as they tell him that Jesus visited, appeared and left before Thomas got back. So Thomas not being fearful makes a bold statement about his own faith, that he won't believe unless he can touch and see the wounded Jesus (John 20:25). He doesn't trust the words of his own fear filled companions, he needs the boldness of his own personal encounter and he gets it. Then he is willing to lay everything aside and say my lord, and my God (John 20:28).

Do we get caught up, stuck in our own fears of the way forward? Do we want our own encounter with Christ before we believe? Do we only search for an encounter in our own familiar places, or do we look everywhere we go? Where will we encounter the risen Christ this Easter and what might it disturb us to ask of our own faith journey?

mirror of erised and encounters with your own desires