04 July 2011

"Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.'" (v. 29)


Thomas was a natural pessimist. Jesus talked of returning to Bethany to attend the dying Lazarus, despite the very real danger to his own life. Thomas was all for going with him, even if it meant the disciples all died together (John 11:16). He was a man of courage and commitment, willing to die for the cause. However, after the agony of the Cross Thomas seems to have withdrawn from the other disciples to be alone with his grief, and in doing so missed an opportunity to see the risen Christ!

When the news eventually filtered through to Thomas it just seemed too good to be true. A natural scepticism crept in, and Thomas declared that unless he could physically see and touch the wounds, then he could not believe in the Resurrection. So it is another week before he gets his opportunity and makes that wonderful declaration of faith, "My Lord and my God!" (v. 28)

Jesus was never going to scold Thomas unduly for doubting, but he does chide him for needing to see in order to believe, adding that in the future it will be the eye of faith that many use to see and believe in him.

Thomas is forever labelled as 'doubting', but there are real positives in his spiritual life. He refused to affirm anything that he did not understand, which makes him a very honest disciple. He had doubts and was open about them. He was also open to have those doubts resolved. Many Christians could learn from Thomas' example. It is perfectly acceptable to have doubts or be unsure about doctrine, as long as we are prepared for Jesus to enter in and meet with us. An honest faith such as that of Thomas is far more genuine that any superficial repetition of creed or declaration.

To Ponder

How honest are we with ourselves about our doubts? How can you live with your doubts, rather than just ignore them?

Are you humble enough to open up to others when struggling spiritually, in order that they might prayerfully offer their help? When you have an opportunity, why not try it.

Bible notes author: John Birch

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