Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 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.” 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!” 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.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Have you ever wondered if you could see Jesus, touch him or hear his words? do you ever wish if only He can show you a glimpse of Himself, you would be absolutely sure of His claims? Do you ever question if God cares enough for you to come and answer your doubts? If you have ever wondered about these, you would be able to relate with the story of Thomas.
Thomas (also known as Didymus) was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He was a fisherman from Capernaum. Although, gospels do not mention much about him, there were two major accounts of him with Jesus.
First was when Jesus decided to go to Bethany to raise Lazarus from death, even though his life (and his disciples’ lives) were in danger. (John 10:39). Thomas uttered the following words. From his words, he seems a courageous but pessimistic person.
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Second was after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus had appeared to all his disciples except Thomas. (John 20:24). Disciples told Thomas that Jesus, their master and teacher has resurrected from the dead.
What proofs did Thomas ask to believe that Jesus was truly bodily resurrected?
- See visibly the nail marks in Jesus’ hands.
- Touch with his hands Jesus’ side, where nails were.
How long did it take before Jesus cleared his doubts?
- A week!
- Jesus did not appear him right away. For one whole week, Thomas wrestled with his mind and heart. His questions and doubts were genuine, he wanted to know the truth personally. Just a week ago, he saw Jesus killed brutally by the Romans and the Jewish leaders. How can he be alive again?
- Many times, God allows us to wrestle with doubts. He waits for the right time to answer our doubts and questions according to his sovereign will.
- Even though Thomas had doubts about it, he did not stop meeting with the rest of disciples. Therefore, a week later, when they gathered again. Jesus finally appeared to him.
What did Jesus say to him? What does it imply?
- Jesus knew that he was struggling with this doubt. So He gave him the proof of his bodily resurrection. He asked him to stop doubting, and start believing in Him. That is exactly what Thomas did. When his doubts were answered, he believed in Jesus readily and joyfully.
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
- Uncertainty, doubts, questions are not permanent solution. But it leads us to an answer if we genuinely and willingly ask Jesus.
So what happened to Thomas?
Thomas went on to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, he traveled to various parts of the world, including all the way to India. Church traditions tell us that he traveled to Malabar, Kerala, India in about 52 A.D. He continued to preach the gospel till he was martyred for witnessing. Traditions also indicate that when the Portuguese came to India in the 16th century, they found the Christian churches that were started by Thomas. The church in India survived for 15 centuries of doubts and persecution, which was started by a doubter! What a turn around!
God can change our doubts into faith, our uncertainty into assurance and our questions into triumphs, if we continue to ask and seek him.
So, What questions or doubts are holding you back from complete belief and surrender to Jesus Christ?