Doubting Thomas - What can I learn from him?
Doubting Thomas was one of the 12 disciples in the Bible. Another name for Thomas was Didymus, which comes from the Hebrew and Greek words both meaning 'the twin.' He wasn't one of the more well known disciples, but he was popular enough to earn the nickname "Doubting Thomas." He was given this label because he simply did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. I too have been a 'Doubting Thomas.' But the experience made me a better person and made my faith so much more stronger.
Jesus appears to some of the disciples, but Thomas was not with them the first time. John 20:25 says, "So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he [Thomas] said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'"
Eight days later, Jesus appears before His disciples again: "A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed' (John 20:26-29).
How truthful all this is. If Thomas hadn't been a doubter, this famous saying may not have been recorded in history. This particular saying has helped me many times in my life. When things have been going badly for me, when I have faced hardships and pain, this saying has given me hope.
Even though Thomas earned a negative label, he was not lacking in some very good qualities. He displayed great courage and loyalty. When the other disciples tried to keep Jesus from going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead because of the danger from those in the area who had just earlier tried to stone Him (John 11:8), Thomas said to them, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" (John 11:16). Thomas also asked Him one of the most famous questions. John 14:5-6 says, "Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?' Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
I think I have behaved similar to Thomas at times. I have gone through stages in my life when I questioned God. When I was in college I remember wondering how religion and science could agree. I had many questions and doubts at this time and could have been called a "Doubting Thomas." Jesus didn't have to appear to me and show me His wound, however. But He has showed Himself to me in many other ways.
Jesus has answered many prayers for me, maybe not in any miraculous way, but He has made me very much aware that He does exist. I find Jesus in my every day walk through life. Sometimes I see His humility on a street corner in the shape of a homeless man. Sometimes I see Him walking with me in my garden, pointing out the first blossoms of spring or the pretty fall colors of a red maple. I see Jesus' love in the hug my grandson gives me and when he says, "Grandma, I love you." I see Jesus in the pink of a sunset and the beautiful colors of a stained glass window. Thank goodness I haven't been a "Doubting Thomas" for some time now. I stay close to God in my daily prayers, in my mission work, and in studying the Bible. Now days I walk with Jesus everyday, that way I won't get lost and hopefully be a "Doubting Thomas" again.
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