Thomas sometimes gets an unfair press because he was absent from the group when Jesus first appeared after His resurrection. He refused to believe it was true until he received hard evidence a week later. It’s not that he was disloyal. On a previous occasion he had urged the others to accompany Jesus even if it meant danger or death!
Maybe, like so many others, he was just a man becoming cynical from bitter experiences of life.
Sure, his Master had healed and fed 5000 and walked on water but the authorities had rejected and executed him. The disappointment was crushing. Thomas would be careful about leaving his heart open to hope again. It hurt too much!
Jesus graciously revealed Himself on numerous subsequent occasions and the following Sunday gave particular attention to Thomas who shamefacedly professed fresh belief and went on to become a pioneer missionary to India. The Lord commented, ‘Because you have seen me you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
We are blessed if we accept these eyewitness accounts in the Gospels at face value. The writer John comments, ‘Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.’
There’s enough here for anyone who wants to believe. Who dares let their heart be vulnerable again to hope. And here’s my fresh thought.
Thomas professed himself ‘agnostic’ initially. ‘I’m not sure lads, I’m not saying you’re lying… it’ll just take a bit more for me to be convinced…’ But here’s the thing, he stuck around, open to be persuaded. Next week he was with the other disciples, no doubt still questioning but I think deep down wanting affirmation.
So, are the questions we raise an excuse to turn from God in selfish disobedience or an honest seeking for truth that we might be reassured? Will we persevere in worship and prayer, keep company with other believers, stay open to hope in spite of previous hurts?
I’m glad Thomas did, and a lot more of us like him!
Let’s be encouraged to hold onto faith for the Lord blesses people who may wrestle with doubt but ultimately want, and choose, to believe.