Thomas is sometimes our spokesman, blurting out words that we’d like to say: Jesus, I won’t believe until I see the nailprints in your hands and touch the sword slash in your side. (John 20:25)
Ours is a world of material where we can feel the warmth of the sun, touch the roughness of tree bark, taste the tang of , smell a new rose, see mountains jutting into a azure-blue sky.
For many, there is nothing else. There is no spiritual, no unseen, no imperceptible – only what we can detect through our senses.
Jesus walked with those whose belief followed their senses. They saw and then believed. His ministry began in an insignificant village where he transformed cleansing water to wine, a clear image of his coming redemption. His second miracle was in that same town where he transformed death into life in healing a dying son.
The stories told between the Cana account of John 2 and the Cana account of John 4 explore the link between knowledge and belief. For many reading John’s gospel, the quest was for secret knowledge to open the box of understanding.
But the belief of those who saw Jesus’ miracles and then thought they grasped the truth was not made of the stuff of eternity. That belief faded like fog in the sunlight. The way to life was through belief. John is clear on that.
The way to belief is not through knowledge. Seeing is not believing.
Jesus challenged a nobleman to take him at his word. In doing that, the father found life and belief.
Thomas demanded physical evidence before pledging his heart to Jesus. But as Jesus stood before him, Thomas melted into belief.
Don’t we sometimes long to hear Jesus’ voice or touch his hand? Yet Jesus made it clear that belief does not come from seeing but from his word.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 21:29