John 20: 19-20 24-29
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus and Thomas
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Yesterday we read about the time that Paul heard Jesus speaking to him. Here is another time that someone met Jesus in a most unusual way.
It is recorded elsewhere in the Bible that Thomas later was very active in telling others of Jesus and his message of hope for the world. It is good for us to note the message for people like us in verse 29. "Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway." Few of us will ever have the honour of seeing Jesus with our own eyes, or hearing his voice with our own ears. Yet, we should "believe anyway". This is what we call "faith".
It is commonly believed that Thomas became a missionary, travelling as far as India to preach the good news about Jesus Christ. Catholic missionaries of 500 years ago, and Protestant missionaries of 100 years ago, were surprised to find that the Christian church was already alive in India, even before they arrived.
It is certainly true that World Vision is also alive in India. Each month the India office sends us a copy of their "prayer diary" - a daily list of items for prayer from all around the international family of World Vision. Let’s look at some of the things our colleagues in India will be praying about this month:
Inside India itself they will pray about staff and children at many projects in places such as Kerala, Karnataka, Manipur and Nagaland. They will pray for particular sponsored children who have had operations or are recovering from illness. They pray for one staff who has had a baby boy. They pray for the husband of one staff member who has been sick for a long time, and for a project manager's wife who is in hospital with a stomach ailment.
But our colleagues in India do not only pray about their own affairs. They are also concerned with the whole World Vision family. They pray for our President, Dr Engstrom and our Executive Vice President, Hal Barber. They remember colleagues in Canada, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ghana, Haiti, and Indonesia.
Our Indian brothers and sisters will also, next Sunday, be praying for “Chinese Overseas Mission” a group which works among Chinese living in the United Kingdom.
But also, just like the man who first brought the Christian message to India (Thomas) World Vision of India will be involved in telling others about Jesus and His love. A conference has just finished in Kashmir at which Dr Sam Kamaleson has been one of the major speakers. Dr Kamaleson, an Indian, is a World Vision Vice President. And the Indian office will be supporting Christian work throughout India, both with their daily prayers and also through their daily work.
Perhaps our colleagues in India, unlike Thomas, have never seen Jesus face to face. But they believe anyway, even though they haven’t seen. And they are putting this faith into action through World Vision of India.