Sunday, May 1, 2011

Faith by Proclamation

"Faith is not received through the reception of sensation but rather through the proclamation of the Word."
-Rev. Emma Jean Gregory, Seminarian, St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas

The above is taken from today's sermon.  The text was John 20: 19-31.  The priest expounded upon this story of Thomas' doubt by pointing out that Jesus gave us four gifts during this post-Resurrection exchange:
  1. Peace
  2. A Mission
  3. The Holy Spirit
  4. Authority
I thought that was a really cool way to look at this familiar passage - I'll have to think more on that.  But what stood out to me immediately, viscerally, were her comments on the exchange between Jesus and Thomas.  As she pointed out (I'm paraphrasing, of course):

Thomas doubted the other disciples.  He had not seen Jesus alive with his own eyes, and so he doubted.  (How many times have I doubted Christ's resurrection power in my own life?  How many times have I demanded to see proof?  I can certainly relate to Thomas.) 

Jesus showed up specifically to address Thomas' doubts.  He could have ignored Thomas.  He could have punished him for doubting.  But no, He showed up.  He addressed his doubts specifically.

Jesus spoke.  He didn't just come and stand there.  He used both His presence and His words to speak to the heart of the matter with Thomas. 

Jesus invited.  He invited Thomas to touch him, to feel for himself.  He gave Thomas an opportunity to approach Him and experience Truth, New Life in the real here and now.

The next thing Scripture says? 

"Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'" (verse 28). 

Scripture doesn't say: "Thomas walked over and touched him and then he believed Jesus."  Nope, it says that Thomas recognized Christ simply after hearing Him speak.

And so: "Faith is not received through the reception of sensation but rather through the proclamation of the Word."

The proclamation of the Word.  This is God-initiated.  It doesn't depend on what we do, really, at the end of the day.  It's all about what God does.  It's so amazing how, from my perspective, it just seems that God is standing right there, ready to show up when we need Him, ready to speak the words that will give us the faith we need to do the work He has.

It's good to be reminded that God's Word has the power to transform - a doubter into a believer in this case.  I want to hear His voice.  I want to let His Words permeate me.  I want to be transformed.

Linking up with Michelle at Graceful for "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday."  Go check out the folks that link up!


  1. Oh, me, too. I have had Thomas moments, too. So glad that His Word breathes new life through me.

  2. Yes, isn't that the essence of listening for God? He speaks...but it's up to us to open our ears and listen.

  3. "I want to be transformed." Such a wonderful prayer for any lover of the Word to pray!

  4. So neat, Thomas's immediate response to His saviour. A great reminder that there's power in His word.

  5. I love how Jesus accommodated Thomas' doubts.