Read John 20:26-29 (ESV)
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.”
What do you think Jesus meant when He said those who believe but haven’t seen are blessed?
Poor Thomas. His initial doubt gave him a bad rap. Doubting Thomas. We always talk about how Thomas doubted. But do we ever talk about how Thomas believed?
In today’s passage, eight days had passed since all the other disciples had seen Jesus in the flesh and Thomas doubted their report. Now, the disciples are back in the room but this time Thomas is with them. Just like before, locked doors can’t keep Jesus’ glorified body out. And just as before, Jesus offered the blessing of peace to His disciples.
Then, He specifically addressed Thomas and graciously provided him the evidence that He knew Thomas needed in order to believe. He allowed Thomas to see Him with his own eyes and touch Him with his own hands.
At this point, Thomas could have hardened his heart. He could have rejected the proof he had just seen and felt. He could have argued and tried to come up with some kind of conspiracy theory or alternate explanation. He could have denied the facts. But he didn’t. Once he realized that it was true, Jesus really had risen from the dead, Thomas fully embraced Jesus as His risen Lord and Savior. He declared, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28).
Doubting Thomas became believing Thomas once he was given empirical evidence. That’s why Jesus said, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v. 29). Some people have taken this to mean that Jesus didn’t think as highly of Thomas’ faith because he only came to it after seeing and that it’s better to just blindly believe in Jesus.
But I don’t think that is what Jesus meant. Jesus knew that from that point on, people were not going to have the same opportunity to see Him face to face. He was talking about future believers. He was talking about people like us! We didn’t see Him die on the cross and we didn’t see the empty tomb. We weren’t in that secret room marveling at His resurrected body. But that doesn’t mean we are flying blind! It does mean that we have to accept the testimony of the disciples and trust their eyewitness accounts, though.
We have good reasons to do so! Frankly, for me, Thomas’ initial skepticism but eventual belief lends credibility to the truthfulness of his confession of faith. He wasn’t gullible. He wasn’t just going along with the hype. Because Thomas waited for the evidence before he accepted the facts, I have no reason to doubt his testimony. He did his research. He completed his homework. And from that moment on, his story never changed and his belief in the Risen Lord never wavered.
Friends, all of us struggle with doubt sometimes. It’s normal to have questions. But we should never allow our questions and doubts to shipwreck our faith. Our questions should drive us to learn more, to sincerely investigate the Scriptures and historical facts, and do our homework.
However, on this side of heaven, we’ll never have all of our questions answered and at some point, we have to decide what we are going to do with all of the evidence that we do have. We have good reasons to believe that Christianity is true. It isn’t just another religion or belief system. Christianity is based on a historical event—Jesus’ resurrection—and we have numerous eyewitness testimonies of that fact! Now, like Thomas, we have a decision to make. Are we going to give in to our doubts or declare our devotion to Christ?
Jesus, You are my Lord and my God! Thank You for graciously providing evidence to Thomas and the other disciples that You really did rise from the dead. Thank You for their faithful and factual testimony that has been preserved in Your Word so that I can believe even though I have not seen. Amen.
Reveal: Do you know someone who has doubts about Christianity because they cannot see? Pray about how you can reveal the facts of the Resurrection to them.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford