ABC Bible Character Faith Series

Look on the Bright Side – Thomas’ Story

Lessons from Thomas

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29

Following His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples who were in the upper room. Here they met often to pray as it was also Jesus’ praying place before His death. During this particular day, they had come together to pray and also to find out what could’ve happened to the body of Jesus. It seems they had forgotten all the prophecies and their unbelief was kicking in. Jesus had repeatedly declared that he would die and rise up on the third day but interestingly there were a few people who went to look for his body on the third day following his death which was a Sunday, the first day of the week.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples, Thomas wasn’t present. Here Jesus revealed his identity by uttering the words, “Peace be with you” after which He showed the disciples His hands and side. This left the disciples overjoyed. From a place of gloom, their faith kicked in and they couldn’t wait to share the news with Thomas. 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. – John 20:25.

Thomas is often referred to as the “doubting Thomas”. This is because of his response to the disciples but I believe there was more than a lack of faith in the way he responded. It seems like he was envious of the fact Jesus had appeared to the other disciples in his absence. Whereas he received the good news about his Master’s resurrection, he chose to focus on the fact that he was not available when Jesus appeared to the others. He loved his Master passionately but he makes such a bold statement with determination, “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

A week later, during one of the disciples’ meetings, “…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.” – John 20:26-29.  The ultimate result of faith is the belief which in this case, Thomas displayed later. However, we see that Jesus reproved Thomas for his doubt. He could’ve known better. He could’ve believed the testimony of his fellow disciples and this would’ve pleased the Lord.

How many of us are like Thomas? Sometimes we are quick to judge him and call him the doubting Thomas, but many of us have received the good news and testimonies of other believers but we are quick to dismiss them with a sense of pride. If we wait for all causes of doubt to be removed, we shall miss out on our Desire, Jesus Christ. If we are to follow Thomas’ example, we would all probably miss out on Salvation.  We cannot focus on the dark side of life and complain with murmuring when we receive the good news lest we sow seeds of doubt and unbelief.

We also learn from Jesus how to treat fellow believers who might exhibit doubt with such passion. In the Desire of Ages, we read that Jesus didn’t overwhelm Thomas with rebuke, but rather revealed Himself to him without entering any form of debate or controversy. We are cautioned as believers that unbelief is rarely overcome by debates and controversies but by the revelation of the love and mercy of Jesus.

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