Why Did Thomas Doubt?
By Ron English
There may be a simple reason for the doubting of Thomas. We know from the Scriptures he was not there when the other disciples met with the resurrected Jesus. What a meeting to miss! All of these guys had been close friends with Jesus. They, I am sure, hung on to every word He spoke and they carefully observed His interaction with other people. They saw Him perform miracles. His words, I am sure, resonated in their hearts.
What could have detained Thomas causing him to miss this gathering? Don’t you know this failure on his part must have dogged him the rest of his ministry? The following verse of Scripture would echo down through the long years and be a constant reminder to all Christians and to the disciple himself.
“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” (John 20:24)
Thomas missed the grave visit where the grave clothes of Jesus had been found, but Jesus was gone. Thomas was not there.
He was not there when the other disciples said to him: “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD.” (Verse 25)
This, I am sure, was like a kick in the stomach to poor old Thomas. He was not there! So he covered his disappointment by forcing out the following comment. “But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (Verse 25-b)
Thomas’ doubting is in full swing with that statement. He is so much like us. When we miss something that is too good to be true. When we miss what will surely become a moment in history that the whole world will remember–we are prone to say, “I will not believe it until I see it with my own eyes.”
Perhaps Thomas was still sleeping when the visit to the grave took place. Perhaps he was too heart sick over the recent death of his companion and friend, Jesus. You want to remember that none of the disciples expected Jesus to be raised from the dead. The very team of men that should have known and should have anticipated His resurrection didn’t even consider it.
Thomas may have doubted. He did miss the original meeting. He did say he wouldn’t believe that Jesus was resurrected unless he, himself, saw Him. But Thomas made sure he didn’t miss any more meetings. He hung with his friends and heard every conversation. He had to wait eight days before he would see the resurrected Savior. What a long time to wait! Look at Verse 26.
“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”
Now Thomas is there. He will now get to prove to himself that Jesus had, indeed, been resurrected from the dead. What a reunion this must have been.
“Then (Jesus) saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (Verse 27)
This had to be both shocking and embarrassing to Thomas. Listen to how Thomas recovered.
“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.” (Verse 28)
My, that was a great statement of his faith. Let’s applaud Thomas for believing and making that statement for our Bible. We learn things from the fact that Thomas missed out on some great moments. His failure serves us today. We know some things we might otherwise have missed.
These next words spoken by Jesus must have burned into the heart of Thomas as no other words had. Listen: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (Verse 29)
We learn that many other things were said and many things done that are not recorded in Scripture. But the things we do read have been preserved for our learning, teaching and preaching. Watch how the Chapter ends.
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30, 31)
Do you believe? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Why not turn to Him today and invite Him into your heart. He will save you today. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Ron English is editor of the Christian blog, Salvation Links. The blog features Bible studies, sermons, articles of faith and practice, songs and videos designed to provide comfort, encouragement and guidance for those interested in spiritual matters. http://www.salvationlinks.com/