Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Can it really be just one week after Easter? I hope you, like me, are experiencing the Easter afterglow, reflecting on and celebrating that Jesus has risen from the dead! But what was happening with the disciples one week after that glorious Easter day? Jesus had already appeared to them, they knew he had won against death on the cross. Yet, they were in the same locked room where they had been on Easter day. In the scriptures, the focus is now on the disciple Thomas… “Doubting Thomas,” who had said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:24-25) But there is more to the story…
The term “Doubting Thomas” has crept into our vocabulary and we know it well, but I’d like to dispute the labeling of Thomas as the “doubting” one. Thomas hadn’t seen Jesus like the other disciples had. Poor Thomas – now and forever labeled as Thomas the Doubter. Yet, the other disciples… How strong was their faith? They had seen Jesus 7 days before, yet they were still in the room behind the locked door. If Thomas is a doubter, are not the other disciples, as well? They all had an imperfect faith. How about your faith? Is it imperfect, as well? The disciples’ faith was imperfect so ours can be, also.
What else did Jesus say? “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” Evidently Jesus did not expect perfect faith. I mean, he did find his disciples in a locked room twice! He told them what he had been telling them for quite a while, they had a job to do. And he didn’t expect them to go out alone. Upon telling them that he was sending them out, Jesus breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.“
Here we must realize that in this act of Jesus sending out the disciples, it is more than that. It is a message to all of us - He is sending out his church. The disciples had Jesus. We have Jesus’ teachings. On those days when our imperfect faith is weak, find what bolsters your faith, your experience with the Holy Spirit. For me it is listening to contemporary Christian music on the local radio station. And I find focus when I journal my prayers and reflections. My faith is also strengthened when I’m in fellowship and experiencing communal worship with others in my faith community. All of these help my imperfect faith. What helps yours?
Now it is time for us to leave our “locked room” and go forth to share the message of Jesus. Even when our faith is imperfect, we can lean on the Holy Spirit and share the love, hope, joy and peace of Jesus.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.