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Two Thomases

John 20:19-31

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Second Sunday of Easter
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Sun, Mar 30, 2008
Second Sunday of Easter

Thomas had another name, "Didymus," meaning "the Twin."  In our text, Thomas certainly lives up to that name, because it seems like there are two different Thomases.

The first Thomas is the Doubter.  The Doubter hears the message from the other Disciples: "We have seen the Lord!" It is an unusual message, considering the fact that Jesus had died.  The other Disciples claimed to have seen Jesus, risen from the dead.  But Thomas, the Doubter, refuses to believe.

Who can blame Thomas for doubting?  It was an amazing, unbelievable message.  What is less believable than a corpse coming alive?  It is impossible.  The Resurrection is inconceivable.  Yet it happened in the flesh of Christ.

Thomas doubted the Resurrection because it was humanly impossible.  Thomas was only being reasonable.

Human reason will not lead to the kingdom of God.  The very best that man can conceive falls short of the glory of God.  No one, by his own reason or strength, can grasp or believe in the Son of God.

Human wisdom is a frail, pathetic creature.  It never dreamt of the Incarnation.  God becoming flesh?  Ridiculous!  The Resurrection?  Ludicrous!  And so human flesh falls short of the kingdom, and cannot enter there.  As it is written, "The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

All things spiritual would be forever beyond your grasp.  You would wander lost in sin and darkness, always searching for a way out, but unable to find it.  The very best things you could offer to God would be worthless and meaningless, because without faith it is impossible to please Him.  You and all mankind are born without faith, and therefore lost.

Even now, there is a Doubter inside of you.  You, like Thomas, have two natures, and one of them is a full-fledged sinner.  To be a sinner means to lack faith in God, and to disbelieve His Word and His grace.  Even when Christ has risen from the dead and given us full and free forgiveness, there is still inside of you a sinful flesh.  The flesh wants to reject the risen Christ and rely on itself, not on Him.  If your flesh succeeds in leading you away from Christ, then it will lead you to eternal death.  But what makes this all the more frightening is that the sinful flesh, which is the Doubter in you, IS YOU.  It is not just that the devil and the world are trying to lead you away.  You yourself, by nature, want to reject Christ.

When the Second Thomas, the second twin, speaks, he shows that he is not the Doubter, but the Believer.  He says to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" Thomas confesses that Jesus is greater than any other man.  He is the Crucified and Risen Savior.  He is the Messiah of God.  He is God Himself in human flesh.

Thomas saw that because Jesus was alive, He had conquered death, sin, hell, and satan.  Thomas looked at the wounds in Jesus' hands and side, the prints of the nails and the spear, and Thomas saw his redemption there.  In the wounds of Christ is the healing of the world.  Therefore Thomas said, "My Lord and my God!"

Christ Jesus is also your Lord and your God.  He has lifted you up out of your sinful weakness.  His mighty arm has rescued you from the faithlessness which would have destroyed you.

Therefore, so far as you are able, cast aside any human thoughts of what is comprehensible or possible.  Christ Jesus, the Lord of the universe is before you to give you infinite gifts.  He shines His light upon sinners in darkness.  He even rescues you - poor sinners - and gives you Resurrection from death and everlasting salvation.

Because Christ is more than a man, He must be treated as more than a man.  Do not dream of standing before this Lord upon your merits, but instead fall upon trembling knees in awe.  He is eternal God in human flesh.  Here is the glory of the Almighty, to give you His forgiving grace.  So it is right to bow down before Him, particularly when He comes in our midst in His Body and Blood.

Then tremble in fear before Him, because you realize what you deserve.  The Righteous Judge comes to you, and you know the verdict you should receive.  You are not worthy, not a millionth part of what you should be.  But you cannot even see how deeply your sinfulness goes.  You are not just a little sinful.  You are a corrupted, twisted creature, and you are here today before the immaculately pure Son of God.

But when you know how deep is your sin, then let fearful trembling be turned to peace, and repentance be turned to joy.  For Christ has not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

That is why He subjected His flesh and blood to crucifixion.  For He is true Man, born of the Virgin, yet also true God, begotten of His Father from eternity.  Therefore, what incredible flesh and blood He has given for you!  It is the flesh and blood of God.  Each drop of blood is worth more than the whole universe.  In His Blood lies a treasure of infinite worth, more than all the gold and jewels of a million worlds.  So when He gave His Body and Blood for you on the Cross, His sacrifice more than paid for all your sins, and all humanity's sins through all of history, even if this sinful world should continue for a thousand, thousand years.  That is the preciousness of this Lord and God, before whom you kneel today.

Nor do you have to go back in time to kneel before the flesh and blood of Christ.  Here at the Altar, He gives His true Body and Blood.  No locked doors stand between Him and you.  Yet He is coming just as miraculously, as He unites His Body and Blood with earthly bread and wine.  Therefore, it is meet, right and salutary for you to kneel before Christ, here.  Here you kneel before your Lord and your God.

You do not have to go back in time to hear His voice.  Here in this House, the Resurrected Lord speaks His Absolution to you.  He preaches His Good News.  He speaks His Word, so that your faith may be strong, not weak.  You need not be a Doubter like Thomas.  For Christ Himself comes before you to renew your faith.

So do not doubt, and do not be afraid.  Here is deity in human flesh.  Here is your salvation.

In the Name of this Lord and God, Jesus Christ, and to His glory.  Amen.

You may quote from my sermons freely, but please quote accurately if you attribute anything to me.

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