Over the last couple of years, my perception of Doubting Thomas has dramatically changed. I now view Thomas as one of the most identifiable relatable characters in the New Testament.
The Thomas that I have come to know is a lot more like me than I would’ve imagined. When reading or hearing his story, I try to put myself in the situation. It helps me to understand the emotion and thought process he may have gone through.
One of the first situations where Thomas doubts what is being said is in John 14:1-7. Thomas had been one of the few that sat by Jesus, learned directly from Him, and experienced miracles. In verse 5, you can see Thomas still had questions. Jesus was telling them what it would be like in heaven. But Thomas needed answers. In a room full of individuals who didn’t understand what Jesus was saying, he was the guy that spoke up.
Thomas was trying to grasp something we cannot imagine. He just happened to be the one that spoke what everyone else was probably thinking.
Actually sounds a little like what I might do…
The other, and more well known story of Thomas is when the disciples told him they had seen Jesus. But to Thomas, Jesus was dead. He had died on the cross. Thomas didn’t believe them. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have either. If a group of people came to me days after my Dad passed away, and I had seen his body laid to rest, there is no way I would’ve believed them. Trust me! I would’ve wanted to believe with everything I had, but I would’ve said the same thing: “I want proof!”
What is amazing about the interaction between Jesus and Thomas when Thomas did see him. It wasn’t Jesus asking “Why didn’t you believe?” It was compassionate. Jesus not only showed himself to Thomas, but said the same words that Thomas had said. Jesus identified with Thomas’ doubt and reassured him in a loving way.
Today, people want proof. Today people need to be shown and reassured through love and gentleness. Just like Jesus did with Thomas, we should do with others.
People today, are like Thomas. They often have a basic knowledge or belief, but need proof to believe. That proof lies in the Hope of God through Jesus.
Executive Coordinator – God of Hope