When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, 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 mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. ~ John 20:19-31
I love Thomas.
I love his audacity. I love his practicality.
I love that while the others were hiding out in fear, he was brave enough to be out in the world. Maybe he drew the short straw and had to get supplies. Maybe he chose to be the one to get supplies.
I love that not only does he not take Jesus up on his offer to touch his hands and sides, he also becomes the first one to proclaim who Jesus is: My Lord and my God.
Thomas wants the physical evidence that the other disciples already had, and Jesus doesn't chastise him for it. Instead he offers up what Thomas asks for.
In fact, there isn't a moment here where Jesus condemns Thomas. We've tended to do that over the past 2000 years, calling him "Doubting," as if that were his first name.
Jesus blesses those who will follow who will believe in him without touching his sides (people like us), but that doesn't mean there is no blessing for Thomas.
Sometimes doubt can lead to a deeper and richer faith. Doubt, in fact, is not the opposite of faith. I think certainty is. When we are certain, why do we need faith?
Blessing comes when our doubts move us to search and grow.
Thomas might have been late to the party. But he knew who Jesus was.
He knew who Jesus truly was.
Holy Lord, turn my doubts into a deeper, richer faith. Amen