Specific Text - John 20:24-29
I'm always thankful for Doubting Thomas. We first hear from him in John's gospel in chapter 14. Jesus has just told the disciples that he's going to prepare a place for them, and then Jesus says, "You know the way to the place where I am going."
I imagine that there was some awkward silence next. Nowhere are the disciples pictured as a group of guys who had a good handle on what Jesus was teaching. None of them knew the way to the place Jesus was going. But nobody spoke up. Nobody, that is, except Thomas. The reason I am thankful for Doubting Thomas is he always says the uncomfortable thing that everyone else is thinking.
In today's chapter, poor Thomas misses the party. Jesus appeared to the disciples. You can imagine the mood of that room! It probably began with shear terror, but quickly changed to laughter and gladness, before becoming a time of worship as Jesus breathed out His Holy Spirit upon them. But Thomas wasn't there, and when the disciples tell him about it, he refuses to believe, because after all, none of this seems to make any sense.
Thomas is incredulous. Not only must he see the risen Jesus before he believes, he must touch and feel the wounds. At this point, Jesus would have a right to be angry with Thomas. Jesus has appeared to enough people now to prove He's alive. Jesus knows that only a tiny fraction of people will get to see Him in the flesh, while the rest of us will need to accept Him on faith. Thomas would be a perfect object lesson; Jesus could say that if a person is unable to accept Him on faith, that person is unfit for salvation.
But once again, Jesus demonstrates peace and love instead. Jesus does not crush Thomas' lack of faith, Jesus meets Thomas in the midst of his doubt.
You will have lots of times of doubt in your life, times where none of this will seem to make any sense. You will question what you've been taught and wonder why you should believe in a God that may seem aloof and distant. In those times, remember and be thankful for Doubting Thomas, and remember the beautiful words Jesus reached out to him with:
Peace be with you... Stop doubting and believe.
Prayer For The Day: Dear Father, I confess there are times where I struggle to believe in you. Thank you for continuing to hold me, even when the clouds of doubt and bitterness set in. Thank you for the mercy you showed to Thomas, and bless me with the words of blessing you gave to him. Amen.