-Amanda Gayle Reed
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!” -John 20:27, Common English Bible
My mother and father were in the midst of an intense debate. Mom had read an article in a magazine which claimed boiling a can of condensed sweet milk would make caramel. Dad was insisting the can had to be vented first.
“You can’t vent the can if it has to be covered with water at all times,” she insisted.
“If you don’t vent it, the pressure would build up inside the can and it would explode,” he insisted.
When a science teacher is convinced something will explode he is very likely to prove it through experimentation. So, a can of condensed sweet milk was put in a pot of boiling water and my parents waited. They waited the required three hours, expecting an explosion, wondering how much shrapnel a can of condensed milk can throw.
One hundred and eighty minutes ticked by and no BOOM! had erupted from the kitchen. The can was opened to reveal a thick, gooey caramel… but no explosion.
That’s the thing I’ve always liked about the Doubting Thomas story.
Thomas needs evidence and his doubt that the story could unfold the way his friends were claiming drove him to demand proof. Eight days later Jesus shows up. Does he chastise Thomas for needing that evidence?
Jesus shows Thomas exactly what he had asked to see. Look at the holes. Touch them. You said you wanted to. And put your hand here. Can you feel that? The wound from the spear?
Thomas was undoubtedly satisfied when he looked up and saw Jesus standing in the room with him. Everything else seems like overkill. But he had spoken the truth of his doubt and Jesus met him with everything Thomas had requested.
Our doubt may drive us to question. It may drive us to seek evidence and an understanding we do not yet possess. But God is a God who answers, and if we are willing to listen, to see, to experience the answer, we will be drawn into a deeper knowledge.
With that deeper knowledge we will find our disbelief cast aside and find our hearts and minds open to the mystery of God.
About The Author
Rev. Amanda Gayle Reed is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She is a member of the West Virginia Conference currently serving a congregation in Gooding Idaho. She is a graduate of West Virginia State University (Institute, WV) and the Iliff School of Theology (Denver, Co) and frequently writes at AppalachianPreacher.com.