With Jesus, he could do anything. On Maundy Thursday Thomas had never felt closer to the person he knew would change the world. The twelve were gathered in the upper room for the last supper.
It was on that night that Jesus washed his feet. The Messiah had washed Thomas’ feet with his own hands.
How that must have felt, a strange combination of honor and humility perhaps.
Nevertheless, it was a perfect night until it wasn’t.
Right at the height of solidarity, Jesus is ripped away from his Apostles and the Apostles torn from the person who has just named them “friends.” Thomas can only watch as Jesus is taken away.
The next day Thomas saw those same hands that had broken bread and washed his feet, nailed to a cross.
The movement he had given everything to was now dying between two crooks like a common criminal.
Thomas himself was not afraid to die, saying Earlier in John’s Gospel, “let us go and die with him.”
Now as he watched his friend and rabbi die, surely a part of himself did die.
How is such a believer to go on when the one for whom he is willing to give the final sacrifice has already sacrificed himself?
Do we ourselves not break when we hear the passion let alone see it as Thomas did?
What would we do in such a position?
We don’t know what Thomas did between Good Friday and Easter.
It’s unclear if he was there when Mary Magdalene told the apostles the scandalous rumor of resurrection, “I have seen the Lord.”
We do know that while the other apostles were huddled, shaking like reeds in a locked room, Thomas was out.
Maybe Thomas had taken on Jesus’ mission for himself. Maybe he was out there trying to work on a world that killed Jesus before it could be fixed. Maybe he was trying to feed, clothe, and reconcile the world by himself.
Could there be a bleaker undertaking? Could there be anything scarier?
We can imagine how he felt but we do not know where Thomas was.
Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus somehow entered the secured space in which the apostles trembled with fear.
Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus said, “peace be with you.” Or when he showed them the marks of crucifixion, so that the apostles could believe that it was really Jesus.
Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit over them and gave them their new mission.
He wasn’t there until eight days after resurrection.
When he does show up the Apostles try to pass on the resurrection rumor, “we have seen the Lord.”
But he couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t receive the good news.
No, not unless he could hold those same hands that held him. Not unless he could see the pierced side move up and down with the breath of life.
Not until he saw for himself the man who had been broken, punctured, and killed with his own eyes could there be a hope of hoping again.
I can’t blame Thomas for wanting to feel those same hands that had washed his feet.
I can’t blame Thomas for not believing.
He wanted to feel his friend, his rabbi, and his Lord.
Which of us doesn’t desire to see the risen Lord for ourselves?
Thomas waited 8 days the rest of us have waited over 700,000!
But Thomas does see Jesus. And when he does Jesus says:
“So you want to see my scars? Well, be my guest.”
Thomas falls to his knees.
He looks upon his friend and teacher and says, “My Lord and my God.”
It’s at this point he can at last believe the resurrection rumor for himself.
But a funny thing happens now.
In the next lines, we can feel Jesus’ gaze turn from Thomas.
After saying to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me?”
Jesus’ eyes continue to turn and look directly at us as he says:
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
To which we the audience pulls back and say,
Is he looking at me?
This is not just a story about people two thousand years ago, this is a story about us.
This is about those moments of despair when we look at the world and think it’s up to us to save it.
How can doubt not abound when we face such undertaking without the resurrection rumor?
We do not get to see with our own eyes a scrawny Palestinian man with holes in his hands, feet and side.
We probably wouldn’t know what to do with him if we did!
And yet Jesus tells us we are just as blessed as the Apostles who did see him.
Our blessing does not mean that the world is perfect now. Our blessing is not even that we will be the ones to fix it.
Our blessing is the knowledge that God looked upon his dead son and raised him up.
Our blessing is that, so too, God promises to do with all of the cast down and dying things of this world.
That is the resurrection rumor.
And it is why each of us is here today.
Somewhere and sometime, someone told you or your mom, or your great, great, great uncle that good news.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! And eventually that good news got to you.
The spirit that he breathed on the apostles is the same spirit we receive in our baptism.
And in being baptized we are charged with passing on that good news.
It’s not up to us to save the world. It’s up to us to pass on the resurrection rumor.
Christ is risen,
And he’s got good things for the poor
Christ is risen,
And he’s got freedom for the prisoners
Christ is risen,
And for the sorrowful, he’s got joy.
Christ is risen,
Don’t worry if you have a few dings or are maybe a little rough around the edges
because the Lord has some dings too!
So, get out there and spread the rumor.
Christ has been risen from the dead and that’s just the start of it.
And that my friends, is Good News, indeed.