Bible Reading: John 20:24-29
Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe! John 20:27
Not many people have nice things to say about the disciple Thomas.
After Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples behind closed doors, Thomas wasn’t with them. So when the disciples told Thomas that Jesus was alive, he didn’t believe them. “I won’t believe it,” he said, “unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side” (John 20:25). When Jesus later appeared to Thomas, the Lord took him up on his offer. He said, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (verse 27).
Talk about it: What do you think of Thomas? Is he a model for our faith—or would it have been better to leave his story out of the Bible?
Okay, so Thomas wasn’t as bad as Judas, the guy who betrayed Jesus. He might not even have been as awful as Peter, who denied the Lord three times. But of all the disciples—the twelve guys closest to Jesus during his three years of teaching and preaching—Thomas is usually lumped among the bad boys.
Many people put Thomas down because of his doubt. But they forget one fact: None of the other disciples believed until they, too, had seen evidence of the Resurrection. Everyone else had already seen Jesus’ hands and side. What’s more, Jesus didn’t say to Thomas, “You were a really bad disciple for doubting me.” Instead, he showed his disciple the evidence and then said, “Stop doubting.” And finally, when Thomas did see the evidence, he uttered one of the loudest confessions of faith in history, calling Jesus “my Lord and my God!” (verse 28).
For some reason we think that doubt is totally bad. “Real Christians don’t doubt,” we say. That’s a myth.
Doubt is actually the starting point of faith. In the Bible’s original language of Greek, the meaning of “doubter” is “inquirer.” An “inquirer” is someone inquiring, asking, or hunting for answers. Sure, there are dishonest doubts people use to distract others from trusting Jesus. Yet there are honest questions about faith.
You can learn these lessons from an honest doubter named Thomas: Doubt is natural. It’s okay to be honest about your doubts. And if you’re truly looking for answers, your doubts should be replaced by faith when Jesus shows you the truth.
Jesus doesn’t want you to hide your doubts from him. He loves you. He even understands your questions.
TALK: What doubts keep you from following Jesus totally?
PRAY: God, when it’s hard to trust you, show us more of yourself and help us believe.
ACT: Do you have any friends who doubt God? What can you tell them about doubt?