Arulvakku

03.07.10 THOMAS

Posted under Reflections on July 2nd, 2010 by

   Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." (Jn20:24-29)

 

Thomas the apostle was also ready to believe. But his belief depended on physical experience. He wanted to verify for himself the reality before believing. The verification by the others and their experience was in no way a proof for Thomas. For Thomas the experience had to be personal and physical and of his own expectation (unless I put my hand into the marks made by the nails).

Jesus, in this story, spoke of a belief that was based on inexperience and impersonal experience. This could be a belief that was based on the experience of the others. The other disciples told Thomas that they have seen the Lord. It was a first hand information. Thomas was not ready even for that. Jesus was speaking of a belief that was based on totally impersonal experience.

All of us long for a n experience of God in the religion. And any religion is valued in as much as it is able to give God experience. Can this experience be personal for everyone? Jesus does not seem to agree with this. What Jesus wanted his followers to belief was that Jesus was risen from the dead be it with experience e or without it.

 

 

02.07.10 MATTHEW

Posted under Reflections on July 1st, 2010 by

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."  (Mt 9:9-13)

 

I wonder what criteria Jesus had in choosing his disciples. He chose Peter, Andrew, James and John who were fishing and in fact called them while they were at work. Here again he called Matthew sitting at the customs post. Did he choose only those who were working? Was ability to work, a criteria? The promptness with which these disciples followed him leaving their jobs is also interesting.

Tax collectors were also joined to the sinners thus making them impure. The other religious leaders did not associate with the tax collectors because they collaborated with the ‘hated Roman authorities’ and also they collected extra money for themselves. But here, Jesus is in table-fellowship with tax collectors. What sort of a religious leader is Jesus?


Jesus had come to establish a kingdom-movement which was different from other religious movement. Jesus was right in the midst of God’s new work. And this work revealed the out pouring of the mercy of God. And God expected mercy from the people and not sacrifice. The kingdom-movement was, in fact, ushering in a new world where everything would be different. In this new world what was required was mercy. 

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