John 20:24-29 (spring AD 30, Sunday – the final evening of Passion Week, and one week later)
Thomas is a great example of the stubbornness of unbelief, even among those who claim to have faith. His ten fellow-disciples, none of whom thought Jesus was going to rise from the dead, said they had seen Jesus, risen from the dead, and yet he wouldn’t believe them. Why wasn’t he hiding with the rest of them? Maybe he wasn’t afraid, maybe he was more afraid, maybe he was disillusioned and didn’t really care any more. We don’t know, but what we do know is what he believed when he finally saw – and felt – for himself that Jesus was alive.
“My Lord and my God!” (v.28). No messing about with vague notions of being merely sent by God, or an amazing prophet, or one of the greatest prophets ever. At this point – finally – the penny dropped and he knew who was in front of him.
We keep praying for the hopelessly and deliberately immoral, inspired by the story of the conversion of the thief on the cross, who is now with Jesus in heaven.
We keep praying for the defeat of, but also for salvation to come to the determined enemies of God. Paul the apostle’s story can inspire that, as his fame as a persecutor of Christians was upended when he became one.
We keep praying for the highly religious types who refuse to accept the one central truth of the risen Jesus. We can be inspired by this, the example of Thomas. Years later he went to his death for refusing to back down from his assertion that Jesus Christ, God himself, came down to earth to die, and rose again to life.
We keep praying because God did all of those things, because God saved us, and because God can save anyone.