Now Thomas (also known as Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord! But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believe.”
What do you say when someone asks how you are doing?
It’s always a conundrum for me.
It never fails; when I say, “Good!” and I return the question, the other person says, “Well!”
I feel I’ve failed my grammatical obligation as a writer.
But this perplexing problem can be skirted by saying, “I’m blessed!”
I’ve often wondered if that response offends those who are struggling with their life. I don’t know why I think that way. There’s a devil’s advocate inside of me that feels this response is a bit boastful or something.
I know…I know…I know…that’s not true. Jesus told Thomas that those who believe without seeing Him in person, touching His wounds and speaking face to face with Him, are blessed.
What does that look like? A new car? A big house? All problems gone?
Our English word confuses the meaning of the ancient text that was translated for our reading eyes. The word is makarios. Spiros Zodhiates explains it this way:
Makarios: “Biblically, one is pronounced blessed when God is present and involved in his life. The hand of God is at work directing all his affairs for a divine purpose, and thus, in a sense, such a person lives coram Deo, before the face of God. Blessedness is sharing in the life of God, being favorably affected and influenced by God, which involves among other things, participating in the kingdom, recompense, freedom of conscience, the second coming, the Holy Spirit, heavenly rest, and moral and spiritual purity. This is why even in suffering and pain one can be blessed, for God’s purpose behind it ensures that it is for the good of His creature and the glory of His own name.…” (Zodhiates, Key-Word, NIV, 1647).
Do you live coram Deo, before the face of God?
If living makarios, blessed– as Jesus was telling Thomas–involves suffering, blessed cannot be measured by outward appearances. This kind of blessed comes from the inside out. It grows from the heart.
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It demands not only believing that Jesus rose from the dead, walked around for 40 days visited His disciples, walked through walls, and ate breakfast with them, but it also requires faith that everything happens for a good purpose, an eternal purpose…a KINGDOM purpose.
Blessed are those who believe without seeing.
Will this new definition of the word blessed help you see your life that way even when times are hard?
Will you reply to our American greeting, “How are you?” with assurance, “I’m blessed!”
See you Friday,