Seeing through scars

Slices

Prepare

Look at and touch a visible scar on your body. What story does it tell? (If you can’t do this, perhaps you could ask someone else.) 

Bible passage

John 20:24–31

Jesus appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’

But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’

28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

29 Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

The purpose of John’s gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Word Live 43

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Poor Thomas. Despite the ‘doubting’ badge he has worn for centuries, this clarity-loving disciple was all in (11:16) and these verses are no exception. Last of the remaining twelve to meet the risen Jesus, Thomas is first to call him ‘my Lord and my God’ (v 28). This is what all of John’s carefully chosen words, his whole skilfully woven account, have been leading up to (v 31). Beyond the bounds of doubt this Jesus is truly God, and within the welcome of new belief he offers us new life. 

So how does Jesus usher Thomas into his new faith? We might notice the close parallels between Thomas’ stubborn declaration and Jesus’ later suggestion (vs 25,27). Or perhaps what strikes us is the quality of evidence Jesus offers – his scarred yet living and present body was surely proof of both his identity and his resurrection. But what draws my attention is that Jesus invites Thomas into his wounds, into the story of suffering and sacrifice they tell, and into the hope of his pain made whole. What strength and safety there is in knowing that the one asking for our trust has borne brokenness for us. Stepping into his wounded heart we see things differently, touched by the truth of who he is and how he loves. 

Author
Cath Butler

Respond

Imagine Jesus welcoming you into his wounded heart, a place there set apart for you. Journal about what this experience stirs in you. 
 

Deeper Bible study

Read the Bible in a year: Joshua 6,7; Romans 11

Pray for Scripture Union

The Finance team working with the Digital Solutions team have introduced a new financial system which will improve the efficiency of our processes and make reporting more widely accessible. Pray that this will prove helpful, especially as the Finance team start producing the year-end accounts.

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