In the comic strip, Peanuts, Charlie Brown and Lucy are walking home on the last day of school.
Excitedly Charlie Brown proudly says, “Lucy, I got straight A’s. Isn’t that great!”
“I don’t believe you Charlie Brown,” says Lucy in her typical belittling manner. “Unless you show me your report card, I cannot believe you.”
Lots of folks can relate to Lucy. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” they say. Give me proof. Evidence. Something I can touch. Taste. Or see.
Thomas, the apostle was like that. He was not present when Jesus first appeared to the other apostles. When they told him, “We have seen the Lord.”
His responded by requesting proof. “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
I don’t know if they called him “Doubting Thomas.” I doubt it! But he’s tagged with that moniker today. Probably unfairly so.
Thomas was a follower of Jesus. Chosen to be an apostle. He was devoted and committed. When Lazarus died, Jesus told the apostles they were going to his home in Bethany. This expressed concern for their Master’s safety. “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”
Jesus responded that it was an opportunity for them to believe. Then he said, Let us “go to be with him.”
Likely they did not understand exactly what Jesus meant. But Thomas said to the other disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:5-16)
Thomas’ reaction might suggest an attitude of resignation, or a spirit of melancholy. But it does demonstrate his loyalty to the Lord.
Following the Passover meal and institution of the Supper, Jesus reassured their saddened spirits. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Well, Thomas didn’t know! And he wasn’t afraid to question Christ. “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:3-5)
So, it isn’t too surprising that Thomas questioned the resurrection.
Eight days later when Jesus appeared again to the Disciples, Thomas was present. “Peace be to you!” Jesus said. Then he turned to Thomas and invited him: “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)
Doubting Thomas? How about believing Thomas! Accepting Thomas! Trusting Thomas! And where do we next find Thomas in Scripture? In the room upper with James, John and the rest of the apostles. Standing with Peter on Pentecost, proclaiming the message of the risen Savior. And journeying into the Roman world preaching the gospel of Christ.
On your days of doubt. Remember Thomas. Doubt is not sin. Doubt is not devastating. Doubt is not damning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. To demand evidence. To seek answers.
Belief in Jesus is not “pie in the sky” approach to life. Our faith is anchored in evidence that is real. Verifiable. And concrete.
Jesus received Thomas. And he pronounced a blessing on us to who accept Him today when he said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
It may be Friday. But Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman