Much is made of the character of Thomas, the Twin. "Doubting Thomas" is a name he's commonly known by today. The disciple who didn't believe Jesus was alive until he saw him with his own eyes. A lot of Sunday school lessons have been taught, painting Thomas as one to be pitied or reviled; certainly not a shining example of faith.
But, I totally get where Thomas was coming from. He thought he knew how Jesus had come to save the people of Israel and lead them back to the land of promise. For three years or so, he walked with Him and worked with Him, but he never could quite get past his preconceptions of what Messiah was there to do. Until suddenly, everything went wrong. His faith was shattered. The One he thought he believed in was gone. Surely Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah! He was killed by the Roman authorities--hung like a common criminal. But a week later, he ran into some friends. They were all excited because of this wonderful news that would turn his world upside-down, or right-side-up, if he believed. But he had believed; he thought he had.
He'd believed so much that right up until the last moment on that awful Friday, he thought Jesus would amaze everyone. When they led Him away in the garden, Thomas thought He would escape, just as He had from that crowd in the Temple. As He was marched through the parody of judicial process, he thought Jesus would speak up, clear up the misunderstanding, make everyone understand who He really was. Even while Thomas gathered toward the back of the crowd, watching Him hang there, not understanding, but still hoping against hope, still knowing that He could come down, Jesus could save Himself ... couldn’t He?
But He didn’t.
Thomas was crushed. He was embarrassed and ashamed. Why did he believe such nonsense for so long? But still, it had seemed so true. He wanted to believe again, to trust what his friends were telling him, but he just couldn’t risk it. It hurt too much.
So, Thomas told his friends that he couldn't believe, wouldn’t believe until he saw the Christ for himself--until he touched His hands and His side.
Jesus had compassion on him. He arrived, right through the locked door of the room where His disciples had gathered. He invited him to see, to touch, to know for himself that Jesus was for real. Finding himself once again in the presence of his Friend, his Lord, Thomas knew. He believed. He rejoiced.
I don't believe this story is so much a warning against doubt as a celebration of grace. Thomas wasn't left in his doubt. Jesus gave him just what he needed, the chance to see for himself, and to believe. To meet with the risen Savior personally, not just through others who had seen Him. We are offered this same invitation: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Find security in Him and enjoy His blessings. Worship in the presence of almighty God; for those who belong to Him, stand in awe of Him and lack nothing (Psalm 34:8-9).
Have a wonderful Sunday.