Doubter or the
A sermon based on John 20:19-31
by Rev. Frank Schaefer
known for by others is often not what we’re really about. People are funny
that way, they remember what stands out to them and characterize a person
according to that experience—most of the time by a failure or mistake of
realized that on one of my recent visits back home. Apparently, back in
Alzey, Germany, I’m still known by some as the boy who nearly burned down
the village. It is true, my friends and I lit a field on fire by accident.
But to be defined by something that happened so long ago, felt really
Yes, it was
a mistake with almost disastrous consequences; yes, my friends and I
should not have started a camp fire in the dry season, and yes it took the
whole village to put out the fire. But I was in the third grade, for
heaven’s sake; and what about my almost impeccable life before that time?
And what about my life afterwards, the fact that I devoted my life to the
ministry, and the good things I have done for so many folks since? No
mention of if. In Alzey, Germany, I’m the boy who nearly torched down the
could be said of the apostle Thomas. Honestly, what is the first thing
that comes to your mind when Jesus’ disciple Thomas is mentioned?
Thomas,” that’s right, that’s his identifier. But does that really
characterize Thomas fairly? No, not at all! In fact, Thomas was one of the
bravest Christians, a very insightful theologian; he had a burning desire
to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the farthest ends of the world.
He was the only apostle to venture beyond the Roman Empire to bring the
gospel to India and the Parthian Empire.
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