Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Jesus' Appearance to St. Thomas

by Very Rev. Dr. Yohannan Sankarathil Cor-Episcopa

Devotional Thoughts for New Sunday

Bible Reading: St. John 20: 19-31

This Sunday is the first Sunday after Easter. We call this Sunday, the New Sunday (Puthu njayar). On this Sunday we remember the resurrected Christ appeared to St. Thomas with the other ten Apostles.

When Jesus Christ appeared earlier, Thomas was not there, and when the other apostles told him about the appearance of Christ, Thomas utterly refused to believe the good news of the risen Lord from the other Apostles. He really wanted to get the privilege that the other Apostles received, may be one step further, "unless I see the nail marks in his hands, I put my finger where the nails were thrust and put my hands into his side, I will not believe it". Thomas would not have believed that Christ was resurrected, until his naked eyes would see the risen lord to present the strongest proof to the world.

When Thomas confronted with the risen Lord, Thomas uttered the greatest confession of faith in the New Testament, "My Lord and my God" (John 20: 28). This reveals the Theology of the combination of two natures of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus Christ. Thomas' long doubt was turned to certainty in the presence of his Lord. He fought for the right of seeing the risen Lord.

There is a legend about Thomas. He was called Didymus, his two fingers were fused together; after touching the wounds of his Lord the fingers separated as normal, and the other Apostles kissed the hands of Thomas. The kissing of fingers (hands) started from there. Only the followers of St. Thomas (St. Thomas Christians) has the tradition of kissing the fingers (hand) of the priests/Bishops.).

St. Thomas emerges as a man of certain definite characteristics; a man of courage, a man who was bewildered, a man who could not believe, a man of devotion and faith.

Thomas first appears in the Lazarus story, according to the fourth Gospel (John 11:1-16). By this time the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem were determined that Jesus should die. So, to go to Jerusalem seemed a suicidal act of recklessness, when Jesus intimated his intention to go to Jerusalem and when all other apostles kept silent, Thomas said; "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:1-16). Thomas was faithful until death. His courage and loyalty were greater than anything else, even death.

In the upper room, Jesus was seeking to persuade the dull minds of the apostles to see the cross and to see what lay beyond the cross. "Whither I go you know," he said, "and the way you know". Thomas broke in, "lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?" Thomas received the greatest answer from Jesus; "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life" (John 14: 1-16). It could be said that the way to certainty is to have the right kind of doubt.

May God bless us.

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