During the season of Easter, we read the stories of the disciples, how they experienced the risen Christ, how they went out and shared the Good News. We read of how some were persecuted for their beliefs. However, we must be aware of anti-Semitic interpretations of the Gospels.
For the most part in the entire first century, the followers of Jesus were still Jewish, and while they sometimes worshiped separately from other Jews, they often worshiped and lived in the same communities together. Persecution that occurred was often of Romans persecuting Jews and other religious minorities, and Christians were included in that. While there were certainly conflicts with some religious leaders within Judaism, persecution by the Roman government was a much greater concern. In addition, while we may focus on poor Thomas as one who doubted the resurrection, Matthew’s account shows us that more than one doubted.
So let’s ponder on the following questions…How do you experience the risen Christ? How do you follow the Great Commission? Is faith something that must be used to prove others are wrong, or can faith accommodate doubt?
The apostles, who were previously arrested and were freed from prison by an angel, are arrested again for refusing to stop preaching about Jesus, and when challenged declare that they must obey God rather than human beings.
Thomas, who is not present at the first appearance of Jesus to the disciples, is confronted with the Risen Christ, and invited to put his doubts to rest. He responds by affirming his faith in the Risen One.
Wise God, You have granted us wisdom and insight. You have sparked in us the curiosity to understand our universe. You have called us to question what we know, to explore more deeply what You have created, but also to explore our faith and understanding in You. Sometimes those questions lead us to doubts. Wise God, help us to navigate our journey of faith so that we do not fear doubts and questions, but welcome them, knowing that uncertainty leads us forward. Help us to rest in unknown, content that You hold everything for us. Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, You are the Wise God our Savior. Amen.