Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! I will never tire of this greeting in this the church’s most Holy Season. Easter has twin enemies: doubt and fear. As we heard on Sunday, if you tuned into our livestreaming, Thomas missed the Easter appearance of Jesus. He hears from the disciples that Jesus has risen from the dead and appeared to them. But he declares, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Thomas doubts…and where there is doubt there can be no Easter joy.
Doubt can destroy Easter for us. Satan raised doubts already in the Garden of Eden. Our modern age questions God, the Bible, the physical resurrection of Jesus and when life itself begins among a whole host of other things. The twin enemies of Easter show their common birth. Fear traces to the root sin of unbelief and so does doubt. “Unless … I will not believe it.” We want concrete proof or we will not believe.
The good news for Thomas and us is that Jesus conquers doubt as easily as fear. A week later he appeared again in the upper room and he says to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. “Stop doubting” … or as I said on Sunday, “Be not unbelieving but believing.” At this very moment Thomas joyfully confesses, “My Lord and my God!”
To us Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus comes to us in our doubt with his peace. He shows us His hands and side as we read His Word. He gives us His Real Presence in, with and under the bread and wine of His Supper. He forgives all of our fear and all of our times of unbelieving. He bestows faith in His death and resurrection as a free gift. With Thomas we too confess, “My Lord and My God!” Will you think on these things? Amen.
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine