Day 15 – Hearing by Doubting What One Hears

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him. – John 12:28-29

You don’t hear what you don’t want to hear. God speaks to Jesus. The message is clear enough for John to relay to us. But most hear it muffled, and take it to be mere thunder. Naturalism. Explain everything through the physical world. But then those who hear the roar as a voice from heaven also mistake it, saying it was an angel. Supernaturalism, everything is the spirit. Even this camp did not take it to be the voice of God. Why? Because they cannot accept that Jesus, a person with a pair of eyes and ears, standing before them and touchable, with the smell of fish, could be God?

We don’t hear what we don’t want to hear. So faith starts with doubt. We have to doubt ourselves and our explanations if we are to learn anything new. Is it so hard for us to accept that we do not know everything and that everything does not have to be explainable in the plane of our experiences?

Lord, teach me to doubt my knowing so I can grow in faith.

Day 8 – Faithful Thomas

Thomas, nicknamed the Twin said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

It is too bad for Thomas that he got stuck with a title created to divide the bible into useful, manageable sections. Ever since the section where Thomas says he won’t believe it (resurrection) until he see it himself , Thomas was stuck with “Doubting Thomas.” Readers assume it was what the rest of the disciples called him. It is like a bully’s name-calling that follows the victim through his elementary school. The victim is forever seen in that light.

But today we see the faithfulness of Thomas. Where many were weary of going back to Jerusalem, Thomas sets his heart to follow, even to death. He is the one to sway the emotion, and so the decision, of the disciples. I imagine some of them nodding with Thomas and their courage growing as they see one of their own urging them to follow to death, a change of mind partially caused by not wanting to be outdone.

Now, it’s true that everyone abandons Jesus, even Thomas. When the moment comes, everyone’s courage fails. But isn’t this true of most of us? In our following of Christ, do we often not follow through with our own promises? Yet, we should not give up.

This is not my first Lent, but I do it as if it is my first. And it is a promise much like Thomas, that I will follow Christ to death, death of my sinful habits. And even if I went back on my words after Lent last year, I am going to do it again. And that is faithfulness too, not the faithfulness that is proven by my promise keeping, but a faithfulness that clings onto Christ’s faithfulness.

Christ appeared to Thomas when his faith left him, and showed his hands with the nail-holes. So Christ accepts my Lent commitments, his faithfulness dragging me along until I become more faithful.

At the end, human faithfulness is possible only because of Christ’s faithfulness.