Struggling With Doubt and Disbelief: Why You Need To Study Jesus' Conversation With Thomas
The Bible presents to us various people we can learn a lot from. Some of them are major characters like Jesus, Paul, Moses, and David. Some of them, like Gehazi and Jehu, appear in the Bible only for a short while, but their lives also teach us with very important lessons.
One of the most important lessons on faith in Christ can be gleaned from one of His very own disciples, Thomas. Famous for the moniker "doubting Thomas," this man's short conversation with the Lord Jesus teaches us a very important lesson we should take to heart.
A short conversation
We find the account in John 20:24-29, which speaks of the time after the Lord Jesus rose from the grave according to what He said prior to His suffering and eventual death on the cross.
At this time, many things had already happened: Mary Magdalene already went to the tomb where Jesus was laid but found it open and empty. There, an angel spoke to Mary telling her that the Lord was alive, and soon Jesus revealed Himself to Mary.
Jesus also appeared to His disciples, showing them proof that He was very much alive. Such was the joy of the disciples upon seeing the Lord alive again in the flesh! However, Thomas wasn't there when He appeared.
In some ways, it's good he wasn't as we can all learn a really valuable lesson from what transpired as a result of that.
Looking for a sign
John 20:24-25 tells us, "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called The Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger in the nail prints, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe.""
Thomas, one of Jesus' very own disciples who heard Him speak with authority and demonstrate with power the things of God, could not believe the very testimony of his brothers who have been with Him all the time that Christ walked with them. By this time we expect that he already knew the Lord Jesus and had developed full trust in the other disciples.
We were wrong to expect that. Thomas couldn't believe Jesus' own words and his brothers' testimonies.
Friends, many of us who profess to know and follow Christ could be actually doubtful of His truth and power. How many of us find it hard to "walk by faith and not by sight" (see 2 Corinthians 5:7)? How many of us find it hard to trust in God because we couldn't see Him or the signs we keep asking Him for?
He longs to reveal Himself
In the next two verses, we read that this time, Thomas was with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them.
"...Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.""
Friends, it's true that God wants to reveal Himself to us. In fact, He sent His one and only begotten Son to do that. Through Christ we get to know the Father who, in reality, loves us so much. All that He wants from us is that we would believe in Him and in His Word. He wants to find faith in the earth (see Luke 18:8; 2 Chronicles 16:9).
Will He find us faithful? Will our faith cause Him to rejoice like He did with the Roman centurion? (see Matthew 8:5-10)
Believe with your heart, not with your eyes
In the last two verses of the passage, we then read Thomas' response to the Lord Jesus Christ's revelation of Himself:
"Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have yet believed."
Let's be honest, friends. How many of us find it difficult, even impossible, to believe in God without a sign, a proof, an evidence that He is real? How many of us would wait for a sign before we agree to the Word of God? How many of us would not believe unless God proves Himself to us?
Friends, God truly wants to reveal Himself to us, but if we believe Him only with our eyes and not with our hearts, that is not faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Do we have faith? Are we like doubting Thomas, who couldn't believe Jesus until He showed Himself? I pray we will take God at His Word. He is trustworthy and true.