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The resurrection: always a stretch to believe

January 26, 2022

Daily Scripture

John 20:24-29; Acts 23:6-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-14

John 20:24-29

24 Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”

26 After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”

28 Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”

Acts 23:6-10

6 Knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, Paul exclaimed in the council, “Brothers, I’m a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees. I am on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead!”

7 These words aroused a dispute between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 This is because Sadducees say that there’s no resurrection, angel, or spirit, but Pharisees affirm them all. 9 Council members were shouting loudly. Some Pharisees who were legal experts stood up and insisted forcefully, “We find nothing wrong with this man! What if a spirit or angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so heated that the commander feared they might tear Paul to pieces. He ordered soldiers to go down and remove him by force from their midst. Then they took him back to the military headquarters.

1 Corinthians 15:1-8

1 Brothers and sisters, I want to call your attention to the good news that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand. 2 You are being saved through it if you hold on to the message I preached to you, unless somehow you believed it for nothing. 3 I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, 4 he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. 5 He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, 6 and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me, as if I were born at the wrong time.


12 So if the message that is preached says that Christ has been raised from the dead, then how can some of you say, “There’s no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there’s no resurrection of the dead, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. 14 If Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The New Testament never pretended it was easy to believe in Jesus’ resurrection (and its key role in helping us trust in life beyond the grave). Jesus was patient with Thomas’ doubts, and in the end, Thomas called the clearly alive Jesus “my Lord and my God.” Hebrew Sadducees and some Corinthian Christians steeped in Greek ideas said, “There’s no resurrection of the dead.” The apostle Paul replied, “If Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless.”

  • Scholar C. H. Dodd wrote, “The Resurrection of Jesus is not a belief that grew up within the church; it is the belief around which the church itself grew up, and the ‘given’ upon which its faith was based.” * Hostile authorities could have easily stopped early Christian claims about Jesus’ resurrection: just put his dead body on public display. With all official power to locate the body, they didn’t because they couldn’t—Jesus was alive! Why does it matter to you that Jesus is alive?
  • The risen Jesus was different in some ways (John 14:26). But he was not a ghost—that was the point of “Put your hand into my side.” This was the physical Jesus, now in a body his grave could not hold captive. The Word who became flesh (John 1:14) arose as flesh still, with what Paul would call a “spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). How can these somewhat mysterious hints about what the risen Jesus was like start to “flesh out” your hope for life with him eternally?

Lord Jesus, you are my Lord and my God. You are my Creator and my Redeemer. Because you live, I too will live forever. I thank you and I praise you today. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek serves as the Director of Discipleship at Resurrection Downtown. She loves to travel and has been to 49 states, 11 countries and lived in Vancouver, Canada for grad school! When not gallivanting all over the world, she lives in Liberty with her husband, Aaron, and two sons, Owen and Porter.

I love answers.

When someone has a question, I am the first to look up an explanation, offer a guess, find the answer. Now some people may say this makes me a know-it-all, but honestly, I just love learning new things. Plus one of my strengths is “Input,” so I come by it naturally. :)

The funny thing about this is, if someone else tells me the answer, I generally still look it up. I just have to see it for myself before I rest assured in my answer.

As a Christian, answers have been something I’ve struggled with. I want to know. I want to understand. I want to figure it all out. But when it comes to faith, we don’t always find an answer…or at least not the answer we’re looking for.

The story of Thomas is usually used as an example of what NOT to do. Don’t doubt. Don’t question. Don’t ask for proof. But I think if I were there, I would’ve done the same thing. You tell me Jesus is raised from the dead and you’ve seen him? I’m going to need to see that for myself. I want to “see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side” to truly believe.

Yet we see Jesus enter into Thomas’ doubts and questions. And in a beautiful moment of grace, Jesus gives Thomas the ultimate answer…himself.

Some may call Thomas a “doubter”, but I like to think of him as a “questioner.” For how do we find any answers if we don’t first ask a question?

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* C. H. Dodd, The Founder of Christianity. London: The MacMillan Company, 1970, p. 103.