“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he 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.” 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.”
A Nickname for the Ages…
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 20:24-29, NIV) The name “Didymus” indicates that Thomas was a twin, but we don’t know much about his brother. This half of the twins, Thomas is famous for not being sure, and has been known throughout history as “Doubting Thomas”. (I guess that rolls off the tongue in English better than “Doubting Didymus”, although I definitely think you could make a case for the alliteration with the “D’s”.)
There was certainly more to Thomas than doubt. In John 11:16, when the disciples are reluctant to go back to Judea, he tells them “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” His question in John 14:5 (“How can we know the way?”) resulted in Jesus declaring himself to BE the way! But he’s been known for centuries as “Doubting Thomas”, and that’s what we still call him. I actually kinda respect his skepticism, and it is a legitimate point of view because many thoughtful people have a hard time capitulating to faith. Doubting something can be hard to overcome.
Many who claim to be scientific or rational thinkers (perhaps you?) say they can’t believe in Christ because they need more evidence and don’t take things just on faith. That is a little odd when they actually believe in any number of things based on assumption and faith. (Such as: “Big Bang”; composition of the universe; evolution as it is often taught, among others…there is no absolute empirical knowledge about any of them, but even scientists are willing to leap to assumptions at some point in every one of them)
More Than Meets the Eye…
So consider this: there is plenty of evidence about Jesus, but people often refuse to consider it. Their assumptions about other things limit what they are willing to consider, and I think they get caught up in a battle of will rather than actual evidence. It becomes an issue of firmness of opinion rather than faith, and of pigheadedness rather than proof. Remember, you don’t have 100% assurance when you get into your car that you won’t have an accident, and yet you put 100% of yourself into that car every time. You don’t have to have 100% proof to make a 100% commitment. People get married every day with less than 100% proof that it will all work out, but there they are…)
Behind closed doors, Doubting Thomas saw the evidence and was able to remove all doubt. His testimony still stands in front of us today. I bet if people really looked at all the evidence, truly investigated who Jesus was, and added a little faith, they’d do the same thing. Jesus said those of us who did not see him but still believed would be blessed. He said that to me, to you, and to everyone who was not in the room to literally touch his hands and side. As for Doubting Thomas, Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed.” Maybe he should be known as “Believing Thomas”. After all, that’s really who he was.
Sometimes skeptics will hold out because they have abiding doubt,
Or hold themselves from faith aloof unless they have abundant proof.
Thomas would not trust in lies! He had to see with his own eyes,
And his belief was incomplete until he saw the hands and feet–
The places where the nails had been– and saw the Lord alive again!
“Doubting Thomas” then received the Risen Lord, and he believed!
Perhaps he really should be called “Believing Thomas”. After all,
That name’s more accurate because at the end of the day, that’s who he was.
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