We have all heard the stories of “Doubting Thomas” and how he refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. What we can learn in the Scripture from this account of Thomas and the resurrection of Jesus is quite profound.
John 20:24-29 – Now 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 in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, 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; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, 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 believed.” [ESV]
This is the weekend when we celebrate the proof that Jesus is God and that we have hope in Him. We celebrate because of the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. In fact, John MacArthur has rightly summarized the importance of the resurrection of Jesus by saying, “Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.”1
We can learn several things:
- Thomas seemed to lack faith and needed evidence to believe.
- Jesus appeared to Thomas on the eighth day following His resurrection.
- Thomas believed.
- Thomas made a profound declaration about Jesus deity – calling Him “My Lord and my God.”
As we think about doubting Thomas’ lack of faith, we must consider the rest of the story. Church history tells us that some years later, Thomas remained a faithful follower of Jesus. He was taken into captivity for preaching the gospel of Christ and asked to recant. When he refused to recant, tradition and history tells us that they drove pine spikes through his body trying to get him to deny Jesus, but he refused. They took glowing red plates and placed them on his body, and even under the singeing of human flesh, he refused to recant. Because Thomas was resolved that Jesus is Lord and that the proof rests in His resurrection from the dead, he refused to recant. Therefore, they took him and burned him because he refused to deny Jesus.
While we often criticize Thomas as the doubter, we must consider how he finished life. He was tortured for his faith, and refused to recant. Why? Because Jesus had appeared to him in the flesh and Thomas understood this one truth – Jesus is LORD God.
How strong is your faith in Christ? Will you continue to persevere to the end? Be like Thomas – as Jesus instructed, “Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
1. The MacArthur Commentary Series, 1 Corinthians, Moody, 1984, p. 398.