“I don’t believe it!” Kristi exclaims, as Ryan Seacrest reveals that Amanda Overmyer had the fewest votes, and Kristy Lee Cook got to remain on American Idol!
“I don’t believe it!” I thought, as my heart sank, learning that KFUO radio in Saint Louis cancelled their highest rated, most financially successful, best evangelistic program, Issues, Etc. and terminated the jobs of its faithful host and producer.
“I don’t believe it!” Saint Thomas says, convinced that the Lord remained dead in the garden tomb, as the other Ten tell him the Lord is risen!
The Second Sunday of Easter proclaims the Gospel of the Risen Lord, telling the joys of what many view as unbelievable. Saint Thomas was not with the others when the risen, glorified Jesus walked through the locked door and blessed the apostles with His presence and assurance. When Thomas returned, he failed to believe the resurrection. “It’s too good to be true!” he thought. “I don’t believe it!”
Sadly, many still think it is too good to be true. Even among us, our words and actions may confess, “I don’t believe it!” When we do not take advantage of every opportunity to receive our Lord’s preaching and sacraments, we are disbelieving their power and miraculous work. If we demote our Savior’s gifts to the status of “symbol” or “sign,” and think that His preaching is simply “about” Jesus, instead of a means of grace, we are telling our Risen Redeemer, “I don’t believe it!” When we deny an outpouring of care to our pastors, faculty, staff, members and visitors, we ignore Jesus and are faithless. In that denial we tell Him, “I don’t believe it!”
Yet what does Jesus say and do when Thomas disbelieves? Does He reject the apostle? Does He replace Thomas with one of the Emmaus disciples who then believed? No. Our Risen Savior lovingly and forgivingly shows His sacred wounds and gives the Gospel comfort to the unbeliever.
And He does the same with us. For all of our daily unbelief, Jesus constantly comes to us, speaking His Gospel in our ears; washing our bodies and cleansing our souls with Holy Baptism; and feeding us His very Body and Blood that He showed to Thomas, preparing us for life eternal, body and soul.
We frequently say, “I don’t believe it,” whether in words or deeds. Yet Jesus reaches out to us with those scarred holy hands, giving His grace and restoring belief. He refuses to leave us lost; our Good and Risen Shepherd creates, restores, and renews faith—that we too may rise!