"Doubting"Thomas? - Think Again
Thomas - "doubting" Thomas - He always seems to get the bad rap, but all the disciples struggled with unbelief. Jesus is constantly giving evidence, persuading them to believe, and John's point in writing his Gospel is stated in John 20:31, "But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and by believing you may have life in His name." So if believing and having life are the big point of His Gospel, we should be so thankful for Thomas' honesty and questioning.
After Jesus' death on the cross and the resurrection, when Jesus had appeared to all the disciples, except Thomas, Thomas said, "If I don't see the marks 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!" (John 20:25) I get it! He obviously saw his wounds and death, because he is so specific as to the points that would convince him, to see those nail holes and even touch them, and put his hand in His side! That must have been quite the request and yet Jesus wanted him to believe so much, He seemed to make a special point eight days later, to again show Himself to the disciples, including Thomas. He specifically addresses Thomas, "Put your finger here and observe My hand. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don't be an unbeliever, but a believer." He was quite aware of Thomas' conditional belief and didn't want him to stay in that place. Jesus wanted him to put away all doubts and aren't we glad?! We get a first hand (no pun intended) experience of the wounds of Jesus, specifically listed because of all these events. We see all the compassion of our Savior, to be sure Thomas gets the full story, so he doesn't leave him questioning his friends' sanity.
Another reason I am grateful for Thomas and his stated unbelief, is because of his proclamation afterward, "My Lord and My God!" (John 20:28) He has been completely won over by this visitation. Even greater is his statement than Peter's statement of divine understanding to Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?" "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!" (Matt. 16:16) But Thomas' statement claims Him as God and his Lord, which is an even stronger testimony! Some people have said something like, "Oh, Jesus was a great teacher" or "a good man," but to state that he is your Lord means so much more. He is your boss, your sovereign, your life!
Another question from Thomas, when Jesus is explaining that He is preparing a place for us and assures the disciples that they know the way where Jesus is going, Thomas is brave enough to speak up, "Lord," Thomas said, "we don't know where You're going. How can we know the way?"(John 14:4-5) That took courage to say, I should think. To appear dumb, lost, not really understanding. And aren't we glad that he spoke up, because Jesus makes his great statement, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Would we have that amazing declaration if Thomas hadn't been willing to look the fool?
Thank you, Thomas, for your honesty and boldness! It teaches me that Jesus wants my honesty, so that he can address my fears or concerns. He cares for me, for us! And I love Him for that.