The days leading up to Easter were contemplative ones for me. I was blessed to think about the last days of Christ before the Cross – the Last Supper with his closest companions on this earth; His arrest in the garden where He prayed; the mock trials; His death on the Cross & His resurrection. Each profoundly meaningful.
It only seemed fitting that I continue to read about the days immediately following His resurrection. In the Gospel of John, we find the story of Thomas, one of the disciples not present when Jesus first revealed Himself to the disciples after His resurrection.
Thomas. Doubting Thomas. The label that has stuck down through the years.
I admire Thomas. He did not believe the report from the others. He told them he would have to see Jesus with his own eyes & feel Jesus with his own hands in order to believe that Jesus was risen. Thomas would not say that he believed when he did not. He was brave enough to state his doubts. And he was left with his doubts for eight days longer. Scripture tells us:
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. (John 20:26 NLT).
The disciples are together, Thomas with them, behind locked doors. Suddenly Jesus is standing among them. I cannot help but wonder if He were not standing directly next to Thomas himself. Jesus does not criticize Thomas. He does not reprimand him. If anything, the words He speaks to Thomas indicate that Jesus understood his doubt & wanted to relieve him of the burden of doubt.
“Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (verse 27)
Christ encourages Thomas to do the very thing that Thomas had stated he needed to do in order to believe for himself. Jesus Himself encourages Thomas to touch His wounds. Jesus exhorts Thomas not to be faithless any longer but to believe like the others.
And Thomas responds….
“My Lord and my God!” (verse 28)
Thomas has received his proof, his answer to all his doubts. Doubt has been dispelled & in that split moment, he expresses nothing but deep, sincere, heartfelt belief.
Doubting Thomas becomes believing Thomas. Faith grows when we sincerely seek answers.
Due to Thomas’ declaration of faith, Scripture tells us:
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (verse 29)
Jesus tells Thomas that there will be others who will believe without having seen. They will be blessed for having believed without ever seeing.
As I looked closely at those words, I realized that at that moment Christ was speaking about me! About you! Let those words sink in…..
“Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”