In 1899 Missouri congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver addressed a Philadelphia Men’s Club, and stated the following in his remarks:
“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”
Thus did the great state of Missouri receive it’s famous unofficial state motto, Show Me. Evidently the Apostle Thomas was Missourian! John 20:24-29 captures a resurrection appearance unique to gospel passages, that of Jesus’ resurrection appearance to an astonished Thomas. You know the details well enough, and note John does not record Thomas’ testing Jesus’ wounds. He knows better at that moment, unleashing the most affirmative theological claim recorded anywhere in Christian scripture: My Lord and My God. Jesus’ final comment upon believing is not to belittle Thomas, but rather to affirm all of us not fortunate enough to have been there beside Thomas. And where does Jesus ascend in these verses?!
The moniker “Doubting” is ridiculous for his intrepid, enterprising Apostle. Ancient tradition attests Thomas and Bartholomew are assigned India and Parthia in the evangelistic distribution. Thomas travels at least to India and perhaps as far as China, centuries prior to Marco Polo, along the great silk roads far outside Roman hegemony. (A really useful word, so look it up if you need to! Heh-GYM-maa-nee) Thomas establishes at least seven churches along India’s Malabar Coast, ultimately dying a martyr’s death thousands of miles away from his native land circa 72 A.D. Thus he is India’s patron Christian saint, establishing Christianity’s venerable footprint upon the Indian subcontinent and endowing it with his name, the Mar Thoma Church. He travelled much further than Paul and founded more churches than Peter. Wow.
- Like Thomas, some of us are theologically Missourian and need to examine the evidence. Several clinical books on the crucifixion and resurrection exist which accomplish exactly that. Have you ever, and if not, would you now examine the evidence?
- What does My Lord and My God look like for you today?! What do you call Jesus in your life?
- Jesus actually utters a beatitude here, Blessed are you. In which way do you receive blessing upon accepting the Risen Jesus into your life?!