Thomas said to Him, my Lord and my God!
How often do we believe those we love? Your spouse says ‘no there’s no more mud cake’ then you go and check, just to make sure. How often is it that we are distracted, that we can’t focus on one thing, that we’re torn between what to do, even to think? How often are we Thomas, called Didymus, both names meaning twin, a double-minded man who is both a follower and a doubter. Thomas is us. When you heard the message last week, Christ is Risen! What did you think? Victorious over sin, death and the devil; do I see that in my life? Maybe we justify ourselves like sceptical Thomas by saying, ‘well scripture says to test the spirits, the messages we hear’ (1 John 4). So the question is, in my life, do I trust this Wonderful Good News of Jesus Christ, or do I doubt? And for me my name is a reminder, Joseph Andrew Thomas Graham: those middle names, double-minded male man. Often I feel dragged toward two different directions, trust or doubt, useful or useless, right or wrong; often I am my namesake, Thomas.
But Thomas is not just the person who rejected the words of his beloved friends, not just one who ridiculed the truth that Jesus rose from the dead as impossible; Thomas also gives the greatest confession in all the Gospels. Jesus is not just the Lamb of God as John the Baptist confesses, not just the promised Messiah of Peter’s confession, not just the Son of God as confessed by the centurion who speared Him, Jesus is my Lord and my God. Thomas this man, pulled in two directions, confesses Jesus of two natures, the human Lord, and divine God Almighty. Jesus was not just another man, and neither did He just appear to die; no Thomas recognises, though probably not understanding the mystery, Thomas knows that Jesus, God and man, died and rose again.
Yes, Jesus truly suffered as a human, tempted as we are in our lives. And yes, He has authority over the chaos of wind and oceans, to destroy sickness and raise to new life, He is God Almighty creator of Heaven and Earth. Jesus Christ, Lord and God, is victorious over sin, death and the devil. That is wonderful news, amazing and all that; yet it only becomes joyful to us when we share in it, when Jesus is victorious over my sin, my death and the devils attacking me. And Thomas confesses this too, not just Jesus, Lord and God; Jesus My Lord and My God. He is my master, and I His servant; He is my God, and I His follower. This is not from me, it is a gift of God Almighty, from Jesus, as He broke in and defeated my captor and carried me off into His kingdom of peace and joy. He is the one who has given you New Life by water and the Holy Spirit, a New Life for you to live today, to serve your King and follow your God. To live with Jesus who has defeated your sin, destroyed the power death had over you, and defends you against demonic temptation and attack. Doubt is not your enemy, just return to hear God, to hear His Word, Peace be with you, and He will sustain you. Jesus is still here with us even though we might not see, even if my hand doesn’t touch into His side, nor your finger the holes in His hands. He is here with us and He is blessing us today.
I don’t come here every Sunday just to repeat some words, to wear special clothes, to stand and walk around up here. No, I come into God’s presence to serve Him and serve you. To bring God’s Word, to remind us of all Jesus said, to work alongside the Holy Spirit as He comforts and guides us in this New Life. Yet most of all, I do what I do here for the same reason John wrote His Gospel account, that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God, and that by believing you may have life everlasting in His name. That we may live according to our confession, the truth we confess together into eternity with Christ, that Jesus is my Lord and my God.
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and into life everlasting. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.