Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” – John 20:27.
Several thousand years ago, Thomas was distraught. Jesus, His Rabbi and Messiah was gone. A cross had turned his world upside down. His days and nights were filled with horrific images of Jesus’ wounds. Three days later there was a knock on the door. Peter, James, John, and the others had come to visit. But it was not an ordinary visit. The other disciples told Thomas they have just seen the Lord. He lives.
Thomas probably wondered if this could possibly be true. He saw the wounds. John told Thomas that this morning, Mary Magdalene came to us and told us she had been to the tomb and that Jesus’ body was gone. Peter and I ran to the garden to see for ourselves. We found the tomb empty. Later in the day, Cleopas and another person were walking to Emmaus when they were joined by someone who at first seemed a stranger. As we walked, He began explaining how the prophets had foretold all that would happen to Jesus. When they arrived home, they asked Him to stay for dinner, and He agreed. When they sat down to eat, He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it. Suddenly, their eyes were opened. It was Him — Jesus.
Peter continued the narrative. “We were all gathered together with the doors locked, for fear of what the Pharisees might do next,” he said. Suddenly Jesus was standing right there in the room with us. He said, ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24:36). We were frightened, I tell you. Jesus said, “Why are you frightened? Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” (Luke 24:38).
Thomas desperately wanted it to be true. But He was a man of facts. He could not reconcile the horrors of the cross and the crucifixion expertise of the Romans with the news that Jesus was alive. Unlike the others, Jesus had not shown Himself to Thomas. Thomas wanted some proof. He looked at the other disciples and said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” – John 20:25
On the evening of the first day of the week, the disciples were together and Jesus came and stood amongst them. He said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19) John 20:27 says, “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.”
When Thomas finally did believe, the words that came out of his mouth formed one of the greatest confessions of faith in the entire Bible. He said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
Just as Jesus understood Thomas’s doubts, He understands our questions as well. But rather than admonishing us, He invites us to rediscover him in ways that reassure us. When we turn to Him, He gives us exactly what we need in order to have our faith reconfirmed and our doubts banished.
- Do you think Thomas’ doubt is somewhat troubling? Why or why not?
- How would it change things if you saw your doubts as opportunities to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ, and not a reason for alarm?