Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Reflections: Peter or Thomas, Which Are You?

As we celebrate the Resurrection and empty tomb again this year, I think about two characters in biblical story: Peter and Thomas.

In Luke 24, we find the account of Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and several other women visiting the tomb, finding it empy and then hurrying back to tell the apostles what had happened. "But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened." (v.11-12, NLT) Peter, though just like everyone else may have had his reservations and doubts, "jumped up and ran to the tomb to look". I love this attitude. I wish it were mine. However, realistically, it is often not. I love and respect the "Peter's" in my life.

In John 20, we have the account of Jesus appearing to many after the resurrection, including his disciples. Then we find the story of Thomas:

"One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Of course we know that Jesus says blessed are those who believe and have not seen. But that does not mean that those who 'have a little bit harder time believing' are out of the range of God's blessing, by no means! Some Christians seem to relate a little more with Thomas, including myself. As I reflect on these two characters, I at first thought that I should strive to be more like Peter than Thomas. And maybe that is the case? Nevertheless, the whole story is redeemed in the end when Thomas says, and all of the followers of Jesus can join with him in exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!"