Monday, August 25, 2008

My Favorite Saints

My favorite saints tend to be those that are always getting a bad wrap. I love Martha and Thomas. I think they are cool.

Everyone always criticizes poor Martha for fretting over having at least 13 guests in their home that they will have to feed and begging Jesus to tell her sister to help her (which frankly would freak me out). But we almost never hear how Martha was the first to proclaim in faith that Jesus was the Messiah and that she believes in the ressurrection of the dead. She freely runs up to Jesus and meets him on the road and says "If you were here, my brother would not be dead." Now really, that is quite a bit of faith. Mary does not come until the Lord summons her.

But then Martha proclaims: "Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give You .c(John 11:22)" What faith! And then in v. 27 "She said to Him, "Yes Lord, I believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

Obviously, somewhere along the line she heard something.

Thomas also. He didn't believe what he heard from the other disciples, he had to touch Him and see Him. But his loyalty is not to be questioned. When Jesus headed up to Bethany to raise Lazarus, everyone knew that Jesus's life would be in danger. The Jews had just tried to stone Him and now He was heading toward Jerusalem, not away. Thomas loyally stated "Le us also go, so that we may die with Him." (v. 16).

Also, Thomas may not have been right to ignore the testimony of the other disciples along with the teachings that Christ had given before He died, but we owe a debt of thanks to Thomas. Because he touched Christ's wounds and His side-- and we have his confession "My Lord and my God," we have an answer to the Gnostics and others who say that Christ did not rise bodily from the dead. Thomas also went farther than any other apostle that we know of...all the way to India, where tradition holds that his body lies in a tomb in a church in Madras. My husband has been there and seen it (though the history of relics is a little more dubious than the teachings straight from Christ or the witness of 14+ disciples).

We have something to learn from Martha and Thomas, and it isn't necessarily to stop worrying about housework or to trust in reliable testimony. Contrary to the example they show, they are still examples of faith and service.


Thursday's Child said...

I agree. Martha and Thomas are inspiring examples of faith. They may have had their faults but don't we all?

elephantschild said...

I love Thomas' confession, "My Lord and my God!"

I don't think there's one better than that.

AshleyEffken said...

I also agree about Thomas and Martha! I wish people wouldn't always pull out Thomas' name as the prime example of doubt. The other disciples would have reacted exactly the same way had they been absent for the first appearance in the upper room, and the gospel doesn't say that Thomas even touched His hands and side. It jumps straight from Jesus telling him to touch Him, to Thomas' proclamation of faith.