If you examine a piece of fine silver or gold you will find on it somewhere some marks placed there by the jeweller or manufacturer. You will find initials or some other sign engraved on the bottom or on the side of the item, or, as is the case with rings, on the inside of a band.
Hallmarks are engraved into every item for two reasons, the first to show that the item is actually what it appears to be – that it is in fact an item made of pure silver or Gold, an item that is not mixed with other, cheaper, materials.
A Hallmark is a guarantee of quality and purity. The second thing a Hallmark does is tell you where the product comes from.
The gospel reading was about the Apostle Thomas DOUBTING THOMAS as he has come to be known. Thomas had not been with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them after the resurrection, and when they told him about it his first reaction was a normal one – he did not believe it.
Thomas had a healthy scepticism, and like most people who have a healthy scepticism, he would not believe until he first had some proof, and he did not hesitate to tell the others that.
“Unless I see the marks of nails in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in his side, I will not believe “.
Most of us, no matter what is said about how blessed it is for us to believe without seeing, really want to see first. Like Thomas, we want some evidence before we accept as truth what other people tell us, particularly when they are telling us things that seem impossible. Thomas would not believe until he himself saw the marks on Jesus.
I believe that no one can fault him for that, particularly since he was being confronted with a story that simply defies human imagination.
Because he saw the risen Lord with his own eyes – he believed, he believed and he went forth to do what all the other disciples did, he went forth and spread the good news about Jesus, that Jesus died so that we would know the love of God, and that he rose from the dead so that we might know that God’s love is forever and that all who follow him receive eternal life.
But what happens today to those who want proof-positive before they believe in Jesus.
For this reason I think what Jesus meant when he said – “Blessed are those who have NOT seen and yet have believed” – is simply and precisely that.
Blessed indeed are people who accept Jesus as their Saviour, their risen Lord, without having had any proof presented to them.
Blessed are they who start walking in faith before they have all the answers to their questions, because they will start experiencing the benefits of faith.
But rather than the marks of his love being shown in his physical body, they are shown, or are meant to be shown in us, in the people of his church, which is everywhere called the Body of Christ. That we the church bare the Hallmark of Christ Jesus.
Quite simply that Hallmark is a life that resembles his, a life of light, and of truth, and of faith.
But the most notable part of the hallmark of Christ that we bear when we are truly in him and he in us – is our love for each other and our desire in that love to be fellowship with one another and work together in harmony despite all worldly differences that may exist between us.
Yes – blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe! But blessed too are those who have seen – blessed are those who have seen the marks of Christ in us and have believed! And blessed too are we who have those marks, blessed are we who have fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ, and who show it by how we love each other.
Look at those who have the Hallmark of Christ upon them, those who walk in light and live by the love of their master, and learn from them.
When we have Christ in us, his Hallmark means we are made by him and his purity lives in us. Don’t let anything hold you back from the Hallmark of Christ.