The Doubting Disciple

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“…But (Thomas) 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’ ” (John 20:25, NIV).

Thomas was never one to receive top billing as one of Jesus’ disciples. His name is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament, usually in a who’s who list of the twelve. Thomas isn’t even present when the resurrected Jesus first appears to the other disciples as they hide behind locked doors. No, Thomas’ claim to fame, rather his claim to infamy, is found in his disbelief concerning Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

To Thomas, the news that Jesus was alive was just too good to be true and too difficult to believe. And so, Doubting Thomas, as he would come to be known, needed proof that Jesus had accomplished what he said he would do – live, then die, then rise again. For Thomas to believe, he had to literally see the scars where the nails had been driven into Jesus’ hands and feet. He had to physically place his hand in Jesus’ side where a Roman soldier’s spear had penetrated Jesus’ body.

Like Thomas, I, too, am at times slow to believe Jesus’ promises. I question his sovereignty and goodness and grace. Sometimes l rely on what I can see and feel at the expense of what I should trust and believe.

The author of Hebrews writes that “…faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). Jesus’ desire is that we trust him even when we can’t view his nail-scarred hands and feet or place our hand into his wounded side. I’m getting better at this thing called faith, this blind belief founded on Jesus’ promises and not just my feelings. May God bless each of us in knowing without any doubt that Jesus is alive. He is truly risen!

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