Christopher Pike once said “Nothing is as it seems.” And he was absolutely right.
Our eyes deceive us. Light reflects off tiny, far away objects casting big, menacing shadows on floorboards hundreds of feet away. Suddenly, the tiny objects don’t look so tiny anymore. Instead they look catastrophic. Coat racks become man eating monsters. Dirty laundry piles become hidden intruders in a faraway corner.
We sit up losing sleep. We check beneath the beds and outside the windows. Yes, suddenly . . . our peace is completely stolen all because we have misinterpreted shadows in the darkness.
“Nothing is as it seems.”
I don’t know what it is about the dark that makes us want to close our eyes but it seems like a very natural response. If my eyes are closed the scary things disappear. But even with our eyes sealed shut . . . our hearts are still in fight or flight mode. Our mind still knows good and well we’ve only taken away the sight of the scary thing . . . not the scary thing itself.
Funny when I think of eyes shut . . . I think of eyes wide open. We join a confused Thomas, afraid to believe.
Suddenly the man who has followed Christ across deserts, through multitudes – doubts. He demands “SHOW me. MAKE me believe.”
The risen Savior terrifies now him. He’s unsure what he is seeing here. An imposter? A ghost? Neither option is settling. Here before you is your friend. Your gut tells you he is dead. In fact, you watched him die. And now here he is before you and he’s telling you “Thomas . . . TEST me.” And Thomas chooses a very gruesome test. He needs not only SEE the wounds of his side . . . He needs to put His hand INSIDE them.
What kind of doubt could this be – so strong, so sure that in order to believe sight would not do. In order to believe his hands needed to be put forth into the very wounds that killed him. It seems like an odd request. The beauty of this moment about to be morbid and unusually transparent.
If it were me I think I would have had worked out some password ahead of time! Something that says “It’s true.” At our house, “shave and a haircut – two bits” will get you past screen door security but this wasn’t going to fly with Thomas. His doubt was so magnificent that he needed to not only see but TOUCH. Not only does he need to TOUCH he needs to stick his hand INSIDE the wound. Even though he touches and even though he believes something else must happen –
Jesus must speak. I imagine He asks Thomas for no excuses, only lovingly affirming him before leaving a message that is oh-so-very-important.
“Blessed are those who have believed without seeing.”
These eight words are incredibly important. Jesus has just blessed modern day followers some 2000 years before they arrived. This goes far above any priestly blessing or holy oil rendition of the Lord’s Prayer – for THIS prayer is spoken by the LORD. Without seeing, without touching . . . we have been touched by our Savior. We have been blessed because we have believed with our eyes closed.
2 Corinthians 4:18 tell us this, “Fix your eyes on what is unseen for what is seen is for but a time and what is unseen is for eternity.” As Jesus spoke to Thomas he not only spoke of faith in his resurrection, he spoke of faith in complete and utter darkness.
Light reflects off tiny, far away objects casting big, menacing shadows on floorboards hundreds of feet away.
But suddenly, the shadow of the cross swallows even the biggest shadow whole and wide.
And even though our eyes are closed – we have complete and utter faith in the next steps, in the NEW THING . . .
For we need not touch the wounds of our salvation. We have believed with our eyes closed.