As I continued to ask people what they think of "know" or "hear" in John 20:19-31 I found myself drawn to a different place from what I glean from the conversations.
Perhaps it is the way I am asking the question but everyone when I ask them about this story I keep hearing about Thomas and his "doubt" (which by the way is a Greek work apistos which is always mistranslated as "doubt" but it is much better to translate it as "unbelief" which I think is a great deal of difference). For some reason, perhaps I am more of a Thomas myself, I am really drawn to what Jesus has to say.
For starters, I think it is weird that Thomas gets a bad wrap even today when the gnostic disputes of day of the Gospel writer are over. It is argued that Thomas represents many gnostic thoughts of the day of John and so Thomas is used in the Gospel to argue against the Gnostic tradition. Thomas is not usually in a positive light in the Gospel of John. Secondly, I think it is weird that Thomas gets a bad wrap when he asks for the exact same things the other disciples got to see - the wounds of Jesus. All of the disciples did not believe what they had heard from Mary Magdalene about the risen Christ and all the male disciples required the 'proof' of the wounds. If there is anyone who is 'doubting' in this story it is everyone but Mary and "the Disciple whom Jesus loved".
Beside all this who is doubting and who believes, the thing that strikes me is the amount of play in books and conversation that goes on about the disciples and not about Jesus in this story. I mean we have the risen Christ here and we focus on the disciples and specifically on Thomas. Why?
Some might claim that we do not know what to do about a Risen Jesus Christ. We do not know how to talk about or relate to Resurrection for whatever reason (and boy howdy have I heard many reasons). It might be that we are such a society that is so ego centric that we put ourselves in the middle of the story and glean from it a moral lesson about how to live our faith or our life. I don't know. All I know is there is a lot of talk about the Disciples in a story that, from what I can see, is about the resurrected Christ.
What I plan to share tonight at church is not original to me at all, in fact few of my thoughts are unique to me. What I plan on doing is juxtaposing this of Jesus with the story of Cain and Abel, specifically Genesis 4:9-10.
So I am curious to know, what do you think about juxtaposing those two stories? What do you 'hear' what do you 'see'? What connections can you make? Perhaps just in juxtaposing those two stories you can see where I was pulled this week.