Doubting Thomas

Some of Jesus’ disciples had reputations. Peter—impetuous, outspoken. John—loved, yet along with his brother James, a Son of Thunder. Thomas—well, everyone knows about “Doubting Thomas.” He couldn’t believe it when the others told him they had seen the Lord. Sometimes we speak of this as Thomas’ dominant attribute, as if doubt were his personal character flaw or pet sin.

But was doubt really unique to Thomas? Or would any of them have doubted if they had been in his sandals? Hadn’t Peter shown his doubt while walking on the lake (Matt. 14:31)? Didn’t they all manifest it in their inability to drive out demons, in their slowness to understand what Jesus had said? Why was it that the ten who had seen Jesus risen from the dead on Easter were still meeting behind locked doors a week later?  Maybe Thomas was just the one who was in the wrong place at the wrong time on Easter evening.  With that in mind, we can apply the doubt of Thomas to our lives, when we find ourselves in the wrong place: called into the office by the boss to be told our job is gone; getting a phone call about an unexpected death or a feared health diagnosis; even watching a TV show about evolution that leads us to doubt God’s Word.

But then we see how Jesus deals with doubt. He comes to fearful disciples, bringing peace and the Holy Spirit. He invites Thomas to touch his wounds, to ensure that he isn’t a ghost, to prove that he is the risen Savior. He provides his Word that records all we need to believe and have life in his name.

Note one more point—Jesus wasn’t standing there when Thomas said to the others, “Unless I see the nail marks and put my finger where the nails were.” Yet the first thing Jesus said to Thomas the following Sunday was, “Put your finger here.” Jesus really had been there when Thomas was mired in doubt. And Jesus is with us even in the depths of our worry and despair. The risen Savior comes behind our locked doors to give us peace.  

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