Bulletin Article
July 22, 2001

Doubting Thomas Revisited

By Doug Long

John 20:24-31


24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

My question for you is would you have done what Thomas did. I used to think that obviously I wouldn't have done what Thomas did, after all I haven't put my fingers in the nail marks left in Jesus hand. I haven't put my hand in his side, and yet I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came here to be a sacrifice for my sins. I was very comfortable in the thought that I was better than Thomas. Now I am going to be bold and ask you to consider some extenuating circumstances that Thomas had to deal with that we don't have today, and then ask the question. First, the power had not come on the Apostles or the disciples yet. They didn't even understand what Jesus was doing. They thought he was there to finally establish an earthly kingdom Acts 1:6. Understanding was to come with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4. With the Holy Spirit upon him Thomas finally understood who Jesus was, and what he was doing. I think he understood his awesome power and his awesome love. Before he had the Holy Spirit though, he was on his own to figure things out, and I think he was a logical thinker. We have never seen a man crucified, but Thomas had. In fact I bet he had seen several crucifixions and understood the horror of them. Even the most graphic descriptions of a crucifixion can't really give us a full understanding of the extreme horror and cruelty it was. Thomas was there, he saw the people on crosses with hunks of flesh missing; he saw the blood, he heard the nails being driven in the flesh, he heard the moans and shallow breathing of the condemned; the stench of death filled his nostrils. Is it any wonder he doubted? I think I would have certainly doubted. Thomas loved Jesus, he was willing to die with him in John 11:16. He went with Jesus to where Lazarus was buried even though he thought he was going to die in doing so. Jesus died for us, for the same reason. He loves us. He died for Thomas also. So would you have doubted?