Jesus doesn’t care what Doc Brown says, he’s willing to step out of space and time to speak directly to us.
For two lectionary cycles in a row, David Lose has argued (here and here) for a very cosmic, almost Back to the Future reading of Jesus’ upper-room encounter with Thomas the week after his resurrection. This makes sense, on some level, as John is very much interested in how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus fits into the larger, cosmic story of God’s work in creation. It all starts with that great prologue, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It culminates in the profession of the Thomasian Creed, “My Lord and my God.” At several key places in the middle, we see characters fade away such that it seems as though Jesus is speaking beyond the book itself, to John’s readers, certainly, but also to us. The story of Nicodemus (John 3) is a prime example, as is the High Priestly Prayer (John 17).
In this Sunday’s lesson, the same sort of thing happens as Jesus responds to Thomas’ confession by saying, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” I’ll let David Lose say it,
“And so here, near the very end, John turns his attention fully to us, as through Jesus’ words he invites, persuades, even cajoles us toward faith in Christ. But more than that, here near the end, Jesus — through John’s gospel — blesses us, and so establishes us in faith. What would it be like for your hearers to understand themselves as addressed directly by Jesus in this passage, to feel themselves blessed by the Lord? What would it be like, that is, if the words John records Jesus speaking nearly two thousand years ago leapt [sic] up off the page, reached across the centuries, to touch and transform us?”
Indeed. What if?