Doubting Thomas is a label that stuck to 1 of the 12 disciples of the Bible. The disciple Thomas, despite his close walk with Jesus as a disciple, found the resurrection of Jesus to be beyond belief – he doubted, until Jesus gave him evidence.
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.”26 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!” 27 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.”28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What I find encouraging about this passage is that although it implies that it’s good to believe in Jesus without seeing him (John 20:29), Jesus is not asking this of all of us, he did not ask this of Thomas. Instead, Jesus met Thomas where he was in his own Journey of faith.
I like to think Doubt is a product of our inquisitive nature as human beings, to want to understand. Doubt provides us that pivot point from which we pause, explore and try to move forward with certainty. This is a great thing right? Take a moment to look around your room and consider what has come to be by a product of man-kind’s desire to understand (if you’re struggling, consider the computer you are using now!).
Does this mean Jesus should come before us all and show us his scars from Calvary so that we may believe? Is it right to expect this?
Thomas’ experience with Jesus, is Thomas’ experience with Jesus. Jesus does not tell us he will do this for everyone.
The Bible is full of stories where Jesus engages with us at various stages of our faith, to help us grow in our understanding of our God. He meets this need in many different ways, which are unique to how he helped Thomas. In other words, the way Jesus helped Thomas understand is inclusive to how Jesus may do this for us, but not exclusive – it is one among many and it is for God to choose.
I’d suggest we should expect Jesus to come and meet us in our Journey of faith somewhere along the way, in his own time, in his own way. In the meanwhile, we should not pigeon hole how he should meet us to how we would like, otherwise he may already be right in front of us and we just may have our eyes closed shut.