Praise God for Doubting Thomas. Praise God that the Bible doesn’t airbrush it’s characters and we get to see people we can identify with, people like ourselves, and Thomas is just such a one.
Thomas was a follower of Jesus, and a committed follower at that, at one point he was quite prepared to go and die with Jesus. Yes, he believed in him up to the hilt, no holds barred, no compromise. Yet, when it came to the cross his faith wavered (as it did for so many). Suddenly in the space of a very short time it all seemed to be over, Jesus was dead, let’s go fishing. It was good while it lasted.
And then he meets some of the disciples who say they’ve seen him – seen HIM, not dead but alive! They were in their usual meeting place, locked in for fear of the Jews (they’ve killed Jesus, what might they do with us if they can get their hands on us), and then suddenly, quite unexpectedly, He, Jesus, came into the room. The real flesh and blood Jesus. But Thomas doesn’t think so, he’s not having it. How could he? He’d been crucified. He had died. He was buried. The tomb was sealed and guarded. People don’t rise from the dead. And get into a room with locked doors? Impossible. Maybe it was an apparition, a spiritual experience, a ghost… “Unless I see him, and the marks in his hands and side and can check them out for myself I will not believe.”
Now let’s not come down on him like a ton of bricks, we are just the same, yes, he should have known, Jesus had told them more than once what would happen, but the speed and nature of events can suddenly cloud our memory, and quickly we lose our perspective, and before we know it we are doubting Thomas – maybe that’s you at this moment in time, that’s ok, stay with it.
A few days later they are hanging out again and this time Thomas is there.
And suddenly, just like before, quite unexpectedly, Jesus turns up, and his first thought is for Thomas – he knows, no one needs tell him. Immediately after giving them his peace he turns to Thomas and says, “Here I am, see my hands and my side, see the wounds, reach out and feel them, it’s really me. Don’t be unbelieving, but believe.” And Thomas that’s enough, he can see that this is the real flesh and blood Jesus he has known for the last three years and his immediate response is, “My Lord and my God!” The greatest confession anyone could make, a confession Jesus didn’t refuse. Jesus was man and he was God.
Thomas was blessed by seeing, Jesus said that those who don’t have that privilege and yet believe are blessed, and there have been hundreds, thousands, millions of them down through history, and if you know him that includes you. And if you don’t it can include you because John says he wrote these things down so that we might believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we might have life in his name. (John 20:31).
Tradition tells us that Thomas went on to preach the Gospel and found churches in Iran, Iraq and even India.
Maybe you have doubts, intellectual or emotional. The account is for real. Jesus did live and die and rise again – a fact accepted by major historians. Maybe you’ve known something of his presence and blessing but you are in an emotional whirlpool and you don’t know what to believe, God doesn’t seem so real or as close as he used to be – let me assure you he’s there and wants to bring you to a place of reassurance of his presence and blessing.
Remember to the enemy trades in doubt, doubt about God and his goodness, he doesn’t want you believing in God and his goodness and will seek every which way he can to destroy that knowledge and break up that relationship. Do everything you can to feed your faith. Don’t allow the enemy to use doubt to draw you away, but rather allow the presence of doubt to see the gaps in your faith and seek by all possible means to grow in faith in those areas.
Doubt in many ways is faith seeking assurance – Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Don’t push it away in a corner, face it, process it, and like Thomas you will come out the stronger.