Four million people, mostly in southwestern India, call themselves “Thomas Christians.” They trace their roots back to the apostle Thomas—the same “doubting Thomas” in today’s reading. Tradition says Thomas went as a missionary to India in 52 A.D. and was martyred in 72 A.D. The resulting “Thomas Christians” are one of the oldest non-Western Christian groups in the world. What a powerful reminder that once Thomas had his doubts answered, he was quite a force for the kingdom of God!
After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples in a locked room. He showed them the scars in His hands and side, and they knew it was really Him. Thomas was absent on that occasion, however, and when the other disciples told him the news, he responded: “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” (v. 25). Thomas’s skepticism was actually quite rational. Given the natural impossibility of a dead person coming back to life, he was demanding evidence. When Jesus next appeared, Thomas was present. Christ commanded him, “Stop doubting and believe,” and Thomas responded in faith, “My Lord and my God!” (vv. 27–28). Confronted with the evidence, Thomas immediately surrendered his doubt.
If we cling to doubt, as we learned back on June 4, it’s a mark of immature faith (see Rom. 14:23) or sinful mistrust in God’s character. But there’s also a kind of doubt—found often in the Psalms, for example, as well as here—that takes its questions straight to the Lord. That’s the best strategy, since only He can answer them! This episode is recounted not only for Thomas’s faith but also for ours (v. 31)!
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Remember that doubt is not sinful in itself. The risen Christ who reassured Thomas encourages us as well. Come to Christ in prayer and greet Him with Thomas’s words: “My Lord and my God!”