The Twin

Preached by Pastor Jeanette

Easter 2C – The Twin

John  20:19-31

April 10-11, 2010

Most of us probably know Thomas

            by a nickname that’s actually not in the Bible –

                        Doubting Thomas.

But there’s another name for Thomas that is in the Bible

–       Thomas the Twin.

Is there anyone here who was a twin?

            How about had twins in your family?

They say that sometimes twins have a sort of ESP

–       they know instinctively that their sibling is in danger;

–  or they feel pain when their co-twin has pain.

TWINS magazine shares stories about

            twins who buy the same pair of pants in the same color

in the same store on the same day –

                                    even though they live on different continents.

Or the twin who knew the exact moment when her sister

            was going into labor because she developed cramping then too.

There is a special connection between siblings who grow up together,

            and it seems especially to be the case with twins.

There are a couple of other pairs of twins in the Bible –

            Jacob and Esau;

                        Perez and Zerah – the sons of Tamar and Judah.

But what’s interesting about Thomas,

            is that he’s simply called “the Twin.”

                        He’s called the Twin three times in fact, but

                                    the Bible never tells us “the twin to whom?”

                                                Isn’t that surprising?

Now of course, there have been legends drawn up

            about Thomas’ twin.

                        One from the 2nd century claimed that Thomas

                                    was actually the twin brother of Jesus!

But for some reason, the Bible itself never

            tells us the name of Thomas’ brother.

A few years ago, Presbyterian minister Frederick Buechner

            raised an interesting question…

                        perhaps Thomas is a twin – to each one of us!

After all, how many of us have not had doubts at times?

            How many of us have not wanted to see more proof?

                        If we heard Jesus was in town, how many of us would not

                                    get in line to go check it out?

There’s something in Thomas that touches all of us.

            There’s something in each of us that would like to see the risen Christ

                        for ourselves – to put our fingers in his wounds.

I don’t think it’s the wounds themselves we long to see…

            The wounds are obvious – too obvious – and all around us.

Miners trapped and killed in an underground explosion –

            we see a wound of Christ –

                        a nail mark in his hands.

Children hurt while those in authority – in the church no less — fail to protect them —

            we see a wound of Christ –

                        piercing his side.

Bullies at school who drive a fifteen year old girl to despair –

            we see a wound of Christ –

                        marking  his feet.

I don’t think it’s the wounds we need to see.

            We see them already.

We see the brokenness.

                                    We see the darkness.

What we miss most times, is seeing

            the risen and living Christ in and among

the wounds, the brokenness, and the darkness.

The wounds are still there,

            but somehow, someway,

God is alive and working in their midst.

This is the Easter promise —

that God brings life and possibility

out of death and impossibility.

It’s hard to believe.

            It’s difficult to swallow.

When bad things happen, we want to reassure our friends

 that God has nothing to do with it.

                        We want to cheer them up.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn,” we say confidently.

We want to take away the wounds.

            But most of the time, we can’t take them away.

                        The wounds are there.

I hear a lot from people

            who have some rather fresh wounds – and I imagine you do too.

Divorce papers have just been served.

            A new diagnosis of a disease we can’t even pronounce has just been heard.

                        The lay-off notice has just been received.

Can you imagine sitting with the parents of the 15 year old girl

            when they had just learned their daughter had died?

It’s not easy to be a “first responder.”

            The white blood cells haven’t made their way to the site yet.

                        The scab hasn’t yet begun to form,

                                    and the scar is a long long way off.

And then at these times we are like Thomas.

            We’re his twin.

            We see the wounds.

                        We long to see the living, breathing Christ beyond the wounds.

Show me how Christ is working here!

            Prove to me that God is present now!

                        Enough of the ‘behind the scenes’ action!

Let me put my finger in the wounds

            and feel that Christ is at work here and now!

So Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands.

Reach out your hand and put it in my side.

Do not doubt but believe.” 

 

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?

 

And then Jesus turns to us

            and says to you and me with great compassion,

                        “Blessed are you.

                                    For you have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Amazing isn’t it?

            Amazing that 2000 years later,

                        we who have not seen, believe in the risen Christ!

                                    Truly it is the work of the Holy Spirit!

The gospel goes on to say, “These things are written —

            all these things –

                        the miracle of the turning water into wine –

                                    the healing of the blind and the lame –

                                                the cavorting with tax collectors and prostitutes –

                                                            the washing of the disciples’ feet in the act of humble service –

                                                                        the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

           


All these things were written – not by random – but by purpose –

so that you – (you and me) – may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah,

                        the Son of God,

                                    and that through believing you may have life in his name.

 

Lord, help us to see the living, risen Christ in our midst!

Give us this life in your name!

Amen.

 

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