Podcast Reflections

Reflection on John 20.19-31 (Easter 2, Year A)

Listen to a reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter (Year A), 16 April, on John 20.29-31

John 20.19-31

When it was evening on the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ 

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ 

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ 

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. 


Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

How often do we question our beliefs? How often do we reflect upon those processes and people in which we place our trust? How often do we ask ourselves why we believe or trust in whatever or whoever? Whilst we might not question our beliefs unless we come to feel that they have been betrayed in some way, we do know the folly of ‘blind’ faith. We are reluctant to invest so much of ourselves in that which cannot be proved or backed up in some way. We know that believing without evidence will lead to upset, even tragedy.

In today’s reading Jesus speaks of those who will, over time, come to believe without the benefit of being an eye-witness. Jesus speaks of those who will have faith in him and in the power of his resurrection, even though they will not be among those who witnessed the events two thousand years ago. Such faith is vey special and, consequently, very rare.

Our reading makes it clear that the disciples did not believe the evidence of their own eyes. As the risen Jesus stood in their midst they all had to see his hands and his side before they rejoiced, and before they received his peace and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This, of course, makes it rather unfair that Thomas should be singled out as the only one who doubted! There is an argument that Thomas was the only truly faithful one … he was the one who remembered Jesus’ warning against false prophets! We should also note that Thomas was the only one who did not see just a resurrected Jesus, in the same way that he saw a resurrected Lazarus, but rather that he saw his Lord and his God.

Today we are challenged to join Thomas, not in demanding proof, but in recognising the true divinity of the risen Christ. Then we are challenged to encourage others to have faith, through the way in which we live our lives as true disciples of our Lord and our God.