My grandmother used to say, “Well, doubting Thomas!” when I would question her as a child when she was giving me instructions. She would laugh and always explain why I should not be doubting her words by showing me that she was right. To most, when we speak of Thomas in the Bible, the image of Doubting Thomas is generally how we remember him and with good reason. Do we ever remember Thomas as Thomas the Believer? Should we remember Thomas as Thomas the Believer? I want to look at a few passages from John and examine the example Jesus left when He was dealing with Thomas’s doubts.

John 14:1-6 (NASB)
14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
4 “And you know the way where I am going.”
5 Thomas said* to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”
6 Jesus said* to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

In John 14, Jesus is encouraging His people and preparing them for for His death and resurrection. The question Thomas asked was very reflective of simply being human. The answer that Jesus gave Thomas is perhaps one of the corner stone Scriptures that has been used to show that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Jesus did not turn to Thomas and say, “Did you not listen? I just told you that you must believe in Me, and I will come to get you!” Jesus simply summed up salvation for Thomas by saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 20:19-25 (NASB)
20:19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said* to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said* to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

In this passage Jesus appears to disciples when they are in one of their darkest hours. They are afraid for their lives because they feared the wrath of the Jews coming down upon them. The had just seen Jesus put to death by the Jews who used the Roman Empire to murder Jesus. These men were afraid, and probably wondered what to do. Once again in the Scriptures we see that Jesus never fails and how Jesus came at the right time to encourage His people and to give them peace. I find it interesting that in verse 19, “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said* to them, “Peace be with you.” and then in verse 20, “And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” Do you think one of these men might have asked the same question that Thomas asked if Jesus had not shown them His hands and His side? Have you ever thought about this story from that perspective and wondered if these other disciples might have asked Jesus to see proof that He was who He said He was? Either way, Jesus in His grace and mercy would have comforted them and given them peace.

In verse 25 we see the other disciples going to Thomas to tell the good news that Jesus was risen from the dead. One thing that stands out to me is Thomas’s human nature and how he was in great distress. I do not see Thomas as angry, but I see him as hurt and confused. I see a man who watched his Lord die and a man who had become hard with his emotions, fear, and doubt.

John 20:26-29 (NASB)
20:26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came*, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
27 Then He said* to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said* to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

What I find interesting is that Jesus appeared to Thomas in the same manner He appeared to the other disciples 8 days earlier. Thomas did not repeat, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” to Jesus. Jesus, in His grace and mercy, knew what Thomas needed and told him, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Jesus gave Thomas exactly what He needed and told Him to believe. Yet again in a passage dealing with Thomas, Jesus gave us another example in verse 29 that we use today to talk about faith and hope.

Thomas knew who Jesus was, but Thomas allowed his human nature to creep in and cause doubt. We are no different than Thomas in many ways in our lives. We all at times doubt and question God in our hearts concerning our needs, our wants, and when we observe the world around us. The story of Thomas is one that shows the grace and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we are in need and full of doubt, Jesus will never fail us. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Jesus will comfort us and encourage us when we seek Him. In this account, doubting Thomas was still with the disciples eight days even after his famous statement in John 20:25, we know this by simply reading John 20:26. So we see Thomas hanging around with fellow believers and these believers hanging around with Thomas. I’m sure these men were trying to encourage Thomas about the risen Lord Jesus Christ as they fellowshipped together. What I see is Thomas not withdrawing back into the world and sinning, but I see a man who had some doubts and needed Jesus to comfort him. What I see is an example of our Lord Jesus Christ coming and comforting His child by giving Him advice about faith and believing in Him. Not only did Jesus comfort Thomas, but He left us with a teaching concerning faith and believing in Him.

When we are doubting God and we are questioning why things are happening to us, let us always continue to seek His wisdom through faith and prayer. Let us uplift each other through fellowship with fellow Christians, and let us always encourage each other that Jesus never fails. When we are in need, let us remember how Jesus dealt with Thomas and reflect upon the grace of God. Let us seek His face and seek His wisdom in all things.

I try to remember Thomas as Thomas the Believer who said, “My Lord and my God!” when Jesus revealed Himself to him. I try to see Thomas in the light of simply being a man who, like myself, is faulty and at times full of doubts. In the end, Thomas’s doubts were laid to rest because Thomas believed in his Lord and His God.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. […] from:  Doubting Thomas was simply being human « In the hedge with David J Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: corner, Faith, friend-paula, Holy, Lord, never-fail, […]

  2. Kenya Pok says:

    Foremost, let me commend your clarity on this subject. I am not an expert on this topic, but after reading your article, my understanding has improved substantially. Please permit me to snatch your rss feed to stay in touch with any upcoming updates. Wholesome job and will offer it on to acquaintances and my fans.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s