19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as 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.”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.
JOHN 20:10-29 NIV
Have you ever stepped into a room, and everyone was discussing a piece of news you hadn’t heard? Or have you ever been the last person to learn something? How would you feel? Would you believe what everyone told you without question? Thomas was encountering something similar. Mary Magdalene first met the resurrected Jesus in the morning by the tomb. Then that evening, Jesus appeared to the gathered disciples, and He showed them the wounds in his hand and sides. All disciples were present except for Thomas. Thomas missed out on this important visit of the risen Jesus on resurrection day one! It is hard to imagine how Thomas felt when the rest of the disciples tried to convey to him, they had seen the resurrected Lord.
Many call Thomas the “Doubting Thomas” because he refused to believe the testimony of many witnesses and reliable witnesses. He insisted on not believing unless he sees the marks on Jesus’s hands and touched his wounds himself. Putting myself in his situation, I would question what I heard as well. Thomas and the rest of the disciples had been through a challenging and complicated emotional journey. The death of the Lord indeed happened. That feeling of sadness, fear, and hopelessness was so great and true, which made the news of the risen Lord hard to accept. Therefore, Thomas needed more proof. He wanted to see the wounds of Jesus to believe, and I think it was an honest and reasonable request. Because, after all, he only asked for the exact proof the other disciples received.
“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.”JOHN 20:27
Thomas could have chosen to pretend to believe, but he didn’t. What Thomas had were honest doubts. The resurrected Lord is full of love, graciousness, and gentleness to His people. He did not rebuke Thomas for his lack of faith. Instead, He addresses Thomas in a way that allows him to believe. And when the risen Jesus met Thomas’s honest doubts, he went from doubting to believing and recognizing Jesus is Lord and God, immediately.
We must admit that we would have doubts sometimes, too. It is not that Jesus approves of unbelief and doubt, but our loving Lord understands and accepts that doubts are part of the growing process of our faith. He is more than willing to listen and answer any honest questions we have for Him. Don’t be afraid to tell Him that you don’t believe. He met Thomas when he was doubting; He would also meet us where we are. We don’t need to pretend before our loving Lord. He knows us, and He can turn our doubts into faith as long as we stay truthful and honest with Him.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.MATTHEW 7:7
This is a promise from the risen Lord!