Lord, help me to overcome any doubt about Your Word that the enemy might throw in my path.
Read John 20:24–31
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.”
The Purpose of John’s Gospel
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NRSV).
I have a lot of time for Thomas and I think it’s unfair that so often he’s referred to as “Doubting Thomas.” The New Testament never calls him that. (By contrast, when Judas is mentioned, the tag “who betrayed him” is nearly always added.) It’s interesting that John’s Gospel, the only one that tells us more about Thomas, was written to bring unbelievers to faith. In John 11:16 Thomas said to the other disciples “Let us also go [to Lazarus], that we may die with him.” D. A. Carson notes that in suggesting that they go to Judea, Thomas is showing “not doubt but raw devotion and courage” (The Gospel According to John, 410). His question to Jesus, “How can we know the way?” elicits from Jesus the glorious reply, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:5,6). We meet Thomas again later when he went fishing with Peter (John 21:2).
There is a world of difference between doubt and unbelief. Thomas doubted, but he just wanted to see for himself what the others claimed they had seen. Wouldn’t you, if you were in his shoes? Jesus responded to his need. (How did he know that Thomas had said that he needed evidence? Was he there, invisible, at the time?) Convinced by what he saw, Thomas was the first person ever to declare his personal allegiance to his Lord and his God. He “spoke better than he knew: his words have become a clarion call to would-be disciples, after the resurrection, to take up their cross daily and follow Jesus” (Carson, 410). It is the unbelief shown by the Jewish leaders in this story, not doubt, that is the opposite of faith.
Have we seriously thought about what happened at the resurrection? If we bring our questions to Jesus, he will meet us; if we suppress them, they will remain unanswered.
Lord, I fully understand the difference between momentary doubt and sustained unbelief. Like Thomas, I believe that You are my Lord and my God.
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