Doubting Thomas. That’s what we call him. But let’s not be too hard on Thomas. We’re often more like him than we’d care to admit. We may have no doubt that Jesus is God, the very Son of God and has risen from the dead. Yet we waver in our faith over things that are personal to us. Things that threaten our peace. Upset our emotions. Challenge our welfare. Things that don’t work out like we have planned or take much longer than we think they should. Things we don’t understand, and so we surrender to doubt . . . like our friend Thomas.
John 20 records a memorable response of Thomas which has been attacked for centuries. “Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.” This is the same Thomas that when Jesus talked about going to see Lazarus back in Judea where the Jews tried to stone Him, boldly asserted “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” (John11:16) This Thomas sounds like a guy who is sold out for Jesus lock, stock and barrel, doesn’t it?
The problem sometimes with people who are in with all their heart is that when they become disillusioned, there can be a drastic swing of the faith pendulum. Perhaps that’s happened to you or to someone you know. When they back off, they fall way back. Thomas believed once. He saw the miracles, the cross, the nails and the tomb. He saw Jesus dead. Fear, doubt and disbelief had now overshadowed his faith. It happens.
What’s interesting is how Jesus responds to a doubter, a skeptic like Thomas, one just like you and me. We might expect a strong rebuke. Jesus often rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith. Matthew 11 and Mark 8 tell a “boating” story about human faith frailty. It isn’t always easy to believe. Jesus understands that. Returning to Thomas in Matthew 20: “Eight days later his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not disbelieve but believe.”
Yes, Thomas asked for signs, for evidence. But unlike many in our world today who search for reasons to disbelieve, Thomas was looking for a reason to believe. Is that you? Truly there are times when as we exercise and express our faith we may look foolish to the world . . . . even to other believers. In my experience I have often observed people becoming disappointed with God because they have either not understood His will or character as revealed in His word, they have not exercised the required patience, or they have presumed things of and from God that were never implied or “promised” by God. I’ve done that.
God desires that we have confidence in Him. This honors Him greatly. It is frequently through the crucible of suffering and challenge that we sense our only hope, our only passage through these hardships, is with Him. This is how we progress to the point in our faith where we are not afraid, where our doubts are calmed by a growing confidence in the God who loves us, provides our needs, and does what is best for us. A good memory of God’s presence in past troubles is a great foundation for building greater confidence in Him. Think About It.