“But one of the twelve, Thomas (called ‘Twin’), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘If I don’t see the mark 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 20:24-25 (HCSB)
Like most people, I hope my faithfulness to the Lord would be compared to the Bible’s faithful giants like Paul, Daniel, Joshua, or Joseph. Sadly, I feel more akin to guys like Thomas. More often than not, I have to see things to believe them.
Personally, I feel “Doubting Thomas” has gotten a bad rap over the years. It helps to know the other disciples didn’t have much more faith than Thomas. They each had to see to believe, as well. None of them took the women’s (the ones who had seen the empty tomb) testimony at face value.
Earlier in Chapter 20, John testifies concerning his lack of faith and understanding and that of the others. Seeing was believing, even for John.
“Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” John 20: 8-9 (NKJV - emphasis mine)
Jesus had already appeared to the ten other disciples (Judas had hung himself) and shown them His scars on the 1st day of the week. Thomas was the LAST to “see & believe.” He didn’t see Jesus until the 8th day.
“In the evening of the first day, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace to you [Shalom]!’ Having said this, He showed them His hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” John 20:19-20 (HCSB)
In my opinion, Thomas’s statement was not blatant unbelief…no more unbelief than the others had displayed. I believe Thomas’s statement had more to do with his frustration that he had been absent when Jesus first appeared to the others. Thomas wanted the Lord to reveal Himself, precisely as He had done to the others. He didn’t want to miss out. Jesus granted Thomas’ longing for personal interaction, as He will for you.
God knows men will not believe in Him simply because they experience an overwhelming number of miraculous signs. That is why not every single miracle that Jesus performed is recorded. The impact of miracles fades over time. Doubt sets in.
Still, God knows some men will not believe in Him UNLESS they experience a sign. John 20: 30-31 Perhaps, the most convincing sign unbelievers need to see is the gospel preached, accompanied by the “miracle” of your transformed life.
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