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Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."


Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (ESV)



Fleshly Signs

Pentecost Friday

29 May 2014

It is not just on the Sunday after Easter that our Lord displays His wounds to us and says to every Thomas: "Put your finger here. Touch my wounds. See it is I! Jab your finger into my side."


This seems far too messy and bloody for us. Couldn't God clean this up a bit? He's treating us like children. But honestly, I don't want to be treated any differently than to be treated as a child of God. The Bible never describes us as "the adults of God." There is no such thing. We are just as much children as an infant who was just baptized. I'm in the same needy spot as she is. And I'm glad to be so. God has condescended in His Son to offer the most fleshly certainties to His children.


In baptism, we come to the splashing water, the sound itself fills us with delight, its movement reminds us that it is living and life giving. Water; touchable and tangible is connected with God's Word to bring us a washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. There is the pastor's hand and his voice: all used by God to accomplish His ways in the world, to bring His children of flesh and blood into His kingdom through an external washing that is more than an external washing. External, yes, at least that, but more and greater, because it's connected with God's word and promise. He has done all for the baptized infant, as He has and still does for all His children. Come, stick your finger in the water. Put your finger here. Touch the means of grace. Be assured by the external signs connected with the Word that deliver the divine promises to sinners.


Martin Luther


"Be on your guard against ideas that disregard the Word and separate and tear Christ from God. For He did not bid you soar heavenward on your own and gape to see what God is doing in heaven with the angels. No, this is His command (Mt 17:5): 'This is My beloved Son; listen to Him. There I descend to you on earth, so that you can see, hear, and touch Me. There and nowhere else is the place for those to encounter and find Me who desire Me and who would like to be delivered from their sin and be saved.' We should quickly assent and say: 'God Himself says this, and I will follow Him and give ear to no other word or message; nor do I want to know anything else about God. For, as St. Paul declares (Col 2:9), in His Person 'dwells the whole fullness of Deity bodily'; and there is no God apart from Him, where I could come to Him or find Him-although He is everywhere else, of course. Now wherever anyone hears this Man's Word and sees His work, there he surely hears and sees God's Word and work.'"


Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of John, 14.10

Lord Jesus Christ, You have buttressed our faith with tangible means in the holy sacraments. Grant that we might trust them as blessed gifts of assurance from You and receive them as a conferral of all the gifts bequeathed to God's children. Destroy our pride and self-righteousness, that we might never presume to be adults of God, but always Your own children, ever dependent on your care. Amen.


For Pastor Ian Pacey and his family, who lost both of their automobiles in the recent flood, that they might be made whole and get the transportation they need


For Pastor Sagar Pilli as he continues his outreach to East Indians in Houston, that the Lord would continue to grant fruit


For Chris Nuttleman, who will be ordained and installed in the office of the holy ministry next month, that the Lord would grant him the peace that surpasses all human understanding

Art: DYCK, Anthony van  Pentecost (1618-1620) 

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Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057