Doubting Thomas. We have serious doubts about that guy, don’t we? Poor Thomas really gets a bad rap from Christians sometimes. I mean, the resurrected Jesus walks in a room, and Thomas doesn’t even believe that; he demands that he be able to touch the wounds in our Lord’s side before he will believe. That big dummy!
Friends, are we being fair to poor Thomas? I challenge any Christian who has never had doubt about anything in their own Christian walks to step forward and enlighten the rest of us as to what makes them such super Christians. We all doubt, and that is fact. We may not doubt God’s existence, His grace or His salvation; yet, we doubt something. Did you worry today about anything? Boom…you have doubted God. I say we cut Thomas some slack, here.
I do it too; it makes me feel like super Christian to cast aspersion on the solidness of another’s faith. If their faith is wobbly, then by comparison mine must be really strong, right? A while back I wrote a series of devotionals on the story of Jesus and Lazarus, and Thomas came up in the course of it. Read this from John 11:
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
I sort of mocked Thomas myself, paraphrasing Thomas’ works something like this: “Okay, Lord, let’s go to Bethany. Even though we are going to just get killed, let’s go. Sigh.” Clyde over at Clydherrin.com made a really good point that maybe I had been too hard on Thomas. It was a great point.
The text never actually presented Thomas as saying what he said in the way I said he said it. In fact, it was all the other disciples who were naysaying Jesus when He said they were out to Bethany, and Thomas who stepped up and said, “Hey, let’s go!” I think what we see there is a statement of resolve and support rather than doubt.
Doubt is normal, my friends. We all have it. What matters, in the end, is not that we have it, but that we act despite it. Once we go in a God called direction despite our fleshly doubts, what has just happened? We have ceased to doubt!
Let’s cut Thomas some slack. He was willing to go, despite himself. Are we?