Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

A Congregation of Lutheran Church-Canada

Scripture & Sermons

THE 2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER AD 2024 2024-04-07

John 20:19-29 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked
where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to
them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then
the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on
them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven
them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
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.

There are only two sure things in life, death and taxes. So the saying goes, and with the end of
April on the not too distant horizon when we’ve got to figure how much of our hard earned
money is going to Mr. Trudeau, we all groaningly know that the second part of the saying is
certainly true. Yes, taxes are a sure thing in life as we all learn from a young age when we find
out that the cost of something is more than its price because you have to add the sales tax or your
first pay check is smaller than you thought it would be because of the amount that went into the
little box on your paystub called income tax.
Yes, taxes are a sure thing in life that you will be paying until the very end and beyond, when
your funeral and estate is taxed. Taxes are a sure thing in life as is death, any question about that
is laid to rest for us every Sunday morning as we pass by the cemetery on our way into Church.
That death is a sure thing in life is also something that we learn from a fairly young age, whether
it’s the death of a beloved pet or that of a dear grandparent, we learn early on that no one and
nothing lives forever. There is a sure and certain end to our time and days on this earth. No, its
not something that we like to think about but we all know that it is a sure thing, that will come to
pass one day whether we like it or not.
Death and taxes two rather unpleasant, distasteful even ugly things, that we would all rather do
without, are the only sure things in life, everything else is open to question, unsure and uncertain,
subject to doubt. Or so Thomas thought until Jesus changed his mind. Yes, Thomas, had a hard
time believing the other disciples when they told him that they had seen the Lord on the first day
of the week after His death and burial. But before we’re too hard on him for that we need to
remember that the other disciples also had a hard time believing that Jesus had risen when the
women came back to them from the empty tomb, they thought that it was all just an idle tale. No
they didn’t demand the proof that Thomas did, but they wanted, needed, proof nonetheless.
Which is something I can certainly understand, as perhaps you can too, because doubt is
something that is common to us all in our sin broken world in which the only sure things are
death and taxes. We have all had too many disappointments in life not to have doubts about
everything else. Whether it was not getting the puppy that we wanted for our birthday, or our
boyfriend or girlfriend breaking up with us, or the cancer treatment not working as well as we
hoped it would. Yes, for all the times that things go right or the way that we hoped that they
would, there are far more times that they don’t, which can’t help but leave us doubtful about just
about everything except death and taxes.
There is a reason after all that Thomas is called the twin, because when it comes to doubt he is
the twin brother of us all, since we have all been reared in the same womb of this uncertain
world, that gives us an identical outlook on the uncertainties of life leaving us hesitant and
unsure of believing in anything but death and taxes. Doubt is just a part of our sinful DNA, that
has simply been a part of us ever since Satan exposed us to it in Eden. Doubts, yes, we all have
doubts at times, I certainly do in any case, faith after all wouldn’t be necessary if we didn’t have
doubts. Faith isn’t believing without doubt, faith is believing in spite of doubt.
Faith has to wrestle with many doubts in my life both as a child of God and as a Pastor. There is
after all so much that seems so doubtful, when everything in my life and in the Church doesn’t
seem to be going according to plan, my plan anyway, where failure rather than success seems to

rule the day, where loses continue to pile up, while successes are few and far between, where
what I long for and pray for seems so slow in coming that it seems more and more likely that it’s
all just a losing battle. Yes, there are times and even days when it feels like all I’ve got is death
and taxes, dust and ashes, perhaps you have had one or two of those moments or days too?
Thomas moments and Thomas days, where doubt presses faith so hard that it exhausts it to
within an inch of its life.
“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.” No, I have not put it in those words, as I
imagine you haven’t either, but doubts demand for proof, has had a place in our hearts at one
time or another, as it has risen in our thoughts and perhaps even our prayers too, prove to me
Jesus that you are there, prove to me that you care by doing what I ask, want, need. yes, the
demand for proof has had a home in my sinful heart, as perhaps it has in yours, which shouldn’t
be that surprising because what we see in Thomas is common to all sinners. As it is just as
demanding and impertinent and rude in us as it was in him.
As the Lord would have had every right to wash His hands of Thomas or rise up in anger and put
him in his place, so too would He have the right to do the same to each one of us, but no, this is
not how our merciful Saviour deals with poor doubting Thomas and it is not the way that He
deals with you and me either. No, with the patience of Job, He puts up with not only all our
doubts but also their impertinent and rude demands. He does not wash His hands of us, as He
didn’t wash them of Thomas, instead He comes here in His flesh and blood to show the wounds
in them to us, week by week on the first day of the week, that we may not doubt but believe, that
He has truly lived, died and risen for us, that we might be forgiven and live with Him forever.
Yes, beloved, out there the only sure things in life are death and taxes, but in here, there is
something far surer still and that is your Risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who stands before
your very eyes in His Word today, proclaiming the peace that comes to you from God through
His wounded hands and feet and pierced side. And because of what He has done for you two
other sure things are yours in here that spell the end of the sure things out there and they are your
forgiveness and your salvation. Yes, beloved, because of Christ’s death for you your sins are all
forgiven and because of His resurrection for you, you will rise and live forever. And so death
and taxes are not so sure as they once were beloved, death’s and yes, even tax’s days are
numbered for each and every one of you, because the new creation in Christ has already begun
and one day soon will be completed when He makes all things new.
So, beloved, the answer to all your sinful doubts, all life’s disappointments, all your faults, sins
and failures, and death and even taxes is simply to say what mother Church has taught you,
“Christ is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia!” Amen