Doubting Thomas, the Saint
24 But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!” 26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again,and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” 28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed.[e] Those who believe without seeing are blessed.” – John 20:24-29
Poor maligned Thomas, forevermore to be remembered as Doubting Thomas. How we look down on him and how we dismiss him for his weakness. Yet, we do so at our own peril. A great message is ignored in his story, one that not only gives us instruction but also good comfort. Thomas was a doubter. He refused to believe until his hands touched the wounds on Christ’s body, and while others marveled and believed, he stood chewing his lip in doubt.
We often equate doubt with unbelief and this too can be fatal to our faith. We have doubts, we struggle to believe, and thoughts of eternal dismissal come unbidden to our minds. It is usually then that we begin to question our faith and wonder if we truly believe since all of these doubts come bubbling up. An interesting twist comes forth here though. What was Jesus’ response to Thomas in the above passage? Does He reject him as an unbeliever, and remind him of hell as He has warned so many others? Does He call Thomas a viper and dismiss him as He did with the Pharisees? Does he take a gentler route, and weep for the soul lost? No! He gives the proof asked for! He shows Thomas His hands and side, showing him He is the Risen Christ indeed. His response is simply this. You have asked for proof? Okay, here it is.
This response is not even that unique on God’s part either. In the end of the book of Matthew and also in Mark, the disciples are depressed and wracked with doubt after Jesus’ death. He comes to them and presents them with a charge, the Great Commission. He did not cast them out or reject them. Instead, He assumed or understood their belief in spite of their doubt, and then He assigned them a job. Not an insignificant job to hide them away so their depression and doubt would not tarnish the bright face of the Gospel. Rather, He tasked them with the Gospel, itself. Even in the Old Testament we see this with God’s prophets and mighty men. Gideon, a man of doubt, asked for proof and God granted it. Moses, so self-conscious he couldn’t believe that Yahweh could use him, and even questions God’s judgment to His ever-burning face. He was told to go and obey regardless.
Thomas, this poor maligned fool of a man, though wracked with doubt and demanding proof, still found himself confessing in the end, “My Lord, my God.” Fortunately for Thomas, and really, for us, doubt did not equal unbelief. So, do not blink and miss it. Don’t dismiss Thomas and his doubt, lest you miss the lesson intended there for all. We are Thomas, and we still believe.