Thursday, July 29, 2010
Do You Need to Thrust?
Ten of the disciples had seen the risen Lord. Judas was gone. Thomas had missed the visit. When he got the news he suggested that he would have to see and handle the physical evidence of Jesus' victory over the grave.
I do not know the spirit in which he made his statement. Was it confrontational as if to say, "I'm from Missouri, boys and you're going to have to give me hard evidence"? Was it issued out of a humble and contrite heart as if to say, "I mustn't be as faithful as you fellows. You're going to have to help me with my unbelief. Simple words won't take me across"?
But Jesus did return for an appearance with Thomas present, perhaps specially for him, and he said, " behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side." The word "thrust" suggests violence similar to the spear thrust of the Roman soldier into that side to corroborate death.
In the last few months Jesus had repeatedly forecast that he would be arrested, humiliated, murdered, but then three days later raised from the dead. He was hurt by Thomas' unbelief and he allowed a rebuke of some magnitude that the chastening might work a strengthening work in the "doubter". Just a moment of tough love.
"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Thomas would become one of that number. Tradition tells us that he was martyred for his testimony in India.
Teaching in today's Church often employs the thrust as if to reinforce the Word and Promise of God with other evidence, logic, archeological confirmation, Josephus, argument, etc. But the Word is God's word and it stands above and before any other means of persuasion. Still it must be received in faith, trust and love, or not at all.
Here is where Christian apologetics will stumble - the thrust.