Bible Reading: John 20:24-29
The phrase “Doubting Thomas” came into common usage as a result of Thomas, the disciple of Jesus, not believing his friends when they told him that Jesus had risen from the dead. It seems unfair that this title has stuck with him. He went to India, and became known as the Apostle to India, founding the Mar Thoma churches. According to tradition Thomas died as a martyr, near Chennai [Madras] in AD 72. Isn’t it amazing that a man known primarily as someone who doubted became such a giant of the faith?
Thomas was also known as ‘Didymus’ which is a Greek word meaning “twin” [John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2]. We know nothing about Thomas’ twin, but Thomas must have been a man with a strong sense of commitment to break the filial tie with his twin and follow Jesus. He had an enquiring mind, and if he did not understand something, then he would ask for an explanation [John 14:5].
Thomas was also a loyal man who said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” [John 11:16] when Jesus decided to go back to Jerusalem.
Perhaps one of the characteristics of our present generation is that of following the crowd, and believing something by hearsay. This often results in weak Christians who have not been prepared to search and dig for truth. Thomas was not like that. He is often portrayed as a man who doubted, but actually he desired to know for himself whether or not something was true. Jesus knew Thomas and did not rebuke him, but revealed Himself to him. It takes great courage not to follow the crowd, but to find out the truth for yourself. In doing that your faith will be so much stronger. There is Biblical comparison between the believers in Berea and those in Thessalonica. The Bible says, “[The Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so [Acts 17:11-12].
We too can search for and find the truth. God’s Word says that those who seek God with all their heart and soul will find Him [Deuteronomy 4:29]. Sometimes Jesus reveals Himself directly, as to Thomas and Saul of Tarsus. There are many stories like this in Muslim countries today. To see might make believing easier. However, for the vast majority of people it will not be seeing and believing, but believing and then seeing! “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” [Hebrews 11:1]. Whichever way the revelation of truth comes let us be like Thomas and declare, “My Lord and my God”, and then passionately follow Jesus.
Why do you think Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for saying that unless he saw he would not believe?
Do you think that there is a place for honest doubts in our seeking after God?
Would you say that you were more like the Bereans or the Thessalonians in your response to truth?