In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
In each of the Gospel accounts, there are struggles to believe the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. In the Gospel according to Matthew, the disciples are described as gathering in Galilee worshiping Jesus though some are doubting.
In Luke, the testimony of the first eyewitnesses is dismissed as foolishness.
In Mark, those same eyewitnesses can’t even bring themselves to speak.
This track record of skepticism is a great blessing to us who live so far in time from the day of Christ’s resurrection. First, the variety within the written record indicates that each of the accounts is tied to a common event. This is not the record of some carefully crafted hoax; there is too much variation. Nor are these the records about what some might have longed to be true; there’s too much consistency among the accounts for that. Further, all of the disciples, both women and men, come off in these accounts looking less than ideal.
These are the recalled stories of the eyewitness encounters with an actual event that was initially unbelievable — even for them. It is the actual presence of the risen Christ that drove them to believe otherwise. The testimony of a community that required its own conversion toward belief in the resurrection of Jesus is more credible and compelling than the accounts of those who have never doubted. Something happened to change their minds. Christ was raised from the dead and appeared among them.
As the account of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas closes, Jesus says “Blessed are those who have not seen them yet believe.” This is often interpreted as a final putdown of Thomas’ skepticism, but I read it differently. Jesus had appeared again. Thomas was given what he needed and now Thomas is being given to us so that we might find in Thomas’ unbelieving ears and believing eyes the testimony necessary for our own hope in the resurrection.
Christ is risen. Be blessed.
April 24, 2019
(Reprinted from 2014)
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- To be known
- We had hoped
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future