One week after Easter, Thomas still doubts that Jesus has risen from the dead. He wants to see for himself the mark of the nails in Jesus’ side and in his hands. Sometimes we give Thomas a hard time and call him “doubting Thomas” but Thomas gets the same view that the other disciples got. For when Jesus first appeared to the disciples in that locked room where they hovered in fear, Jesus showed them his hands and his side. And rather than critique or admonish Thomas Jesus says “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side.” (John 20) In the gospel of John, the risen Christ is not a ghost or some ethereal being, but rather the wounded one.
Perhaps this means that even after he no longer walks the earth as a human being, the God of heaven knows firsthand the experience of our own wounded humanity. He bears the marks of our own pain and brokenness. He knows the anguish of ER nurses, the despair of waitresses with no income, the fear and loneliness of COVID patients in nursing homes. Jesus still bears the marks of human suffering, even in the resurrected life.
Those who are hearing impaired are frequently reminded that Jesus enters into human struggles with us. Maybe you know a few words of sign language. Do you know that the word for Jesus is made by the left middle finger touching the right palm and the right middle finger touching the left palm in quick succession? Jesus is the one with wounded hands. Yes he is risen. But still vulnerable.
Like Thomas, we sometimes doubt. But Jesus comes to us anyway and reaches out his hands.