It is a special grace to have faith in someone. When we say we believe in someone else (usually someone we mentor, a dear friend, or even a spouse), we might describe it as a special vision. In a sense, we can see into that person. We see their potential, their virtues, their character. When we are given the grace of faith with regard to another, we see them a little bit like God sees them, though as “through a glass, darkly” (1Cor 13:12). By that special faith, we catch a glimpse of their God-given beauty. On the other hand, when we ourselves are believed in, when someone has a special faith in our regard, it is deeply life-giving. It heals insecurities, opens us to the joys of being loved, and empowers us to love in return. For charity naturally follows upon faith.
Jesus believes in us. If he did not, he would not have died for us. What would be the point? But because he believes in our potential to be saved, our potential to be saints, he went to the greatest lengths to provide the means of that salvation. His great faith in us led to the greatest act of love (Jn 15:13). What Jesus is asking, is that we believe him in return. When Jesus meets Thomas in his doubts, he shows him the wounds of his hands and his side. Certainly, the nail marks testify that this is the same Jesus who died on the Cross. But they also testify to the depths of his love. Jesus isn’t simply telling Thomas, “believe that I’ve risen from the dead.” He is telling him, “believe in my love.” He is telling him, “believe that I see something so loveable in you, that I willingly accepted these wounds so that it might come about” (see Jn 3:16).
This weekend, we hear the motive for writing the Gospel in the first place: “these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” Believing in Jesus means more than a belief in his Passion, death and Resurrection. Faith in Jesus means more than faith in the Incarnation and the divine authority of his teaching. At a more fundamental level, when we believe in Jesus, it means we believe in his love. We believe that he must find something so precious in us that he is willing to lay down his life that it “might not perish.” When someone believes in us, it is life-giving. But when we discover that God believes in us, we are lead to eternal life.