“…Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” – John 20:27.
You have to feel a little bit bad for Thomas. He was a disciple. He walked with Jesus. There is certainly more to him than the one day of skepticism that gave him the nickname “doubting Thomas.”
After Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples behind closed doors, Thomas wasn’t with them. So when the disciples told Thomas that Jesus was alive, he didn’t believe them. “I won’t believe it,” he said, “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). When Jesus later appeared to Thomas, the Lord took him up on his offer. He said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (verse 27).
Thomas saw Jesus die and knew He was buried. He had seen those things with his own eyes. Now, a few days later, others were saying Jesus was alive again. They claimed He had appeared to them. It didn’t compute. It challenged the principles of logic and science. Most of us would have come to the same conclusion Thomas did if we were in his shoes. We would be skeptical. We would question what the other disciples claimed. We would verbalize our doubts.
Fortunately for Thomas and for us, Jesus didn’t show up to shun him, scold him, or shame him. Jesus showed up to win him. Jesus didn’t question Thomas’ character or lecture him with doctrine. Instead, Jesus moved closer to him. He invited Thomas to see His scars and touch the holes in His hands. Jesus was basically saying “I’m here. I’m real. See for yourself.”
Thomas heard a story that Jesus had risen from the dead. And at that moment, he thought it couldn’t be logically possible. But after he met Jesus personally he believed. In verse 28, Thomas exclaims of Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” We were all skeptics at one time or another who need to experience Jesus as true and trustworthy. Jesus isn’t afraid of human scrutiny. He doesn’t need to be because His story holds up when scrutinized. It always will because it’s true.
As followers of Jesus, we will have friends who are seekers, skeptics, and sinners. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus tells His followers to “let your light shine before others, that they may see.…” When skeptical, doubting, far-from-God friends look at one who was once skeptical but now are people who’ve examined the evidence of the gospel and believed it to be authentic, let them see the light of Jesus.
We need to remember we are all a little like Thomas while we are working to become more like Jesus.
- Should we be afraid of our doubts? Why or why not?
- How can we be honest about our doubts? How do we take our doubts to Jesus?