Think of Thomas and you think of doubt, but there is so much more to him than that. This apostle showed his courage and loyalty when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. Jesus wanted to return to Judea to resurrect Lazarus, but the apostles protested, “The Jews were trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” (JN 11:8) After some discussion about whether Lazarus was dead or asleep, it became clear that Jesus would not change his mind. Thomas called to the others, “Let us also go to die with him.” (11:16) I’ve always imagined he said this with a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek, but the statement shows thatThomas was willing to follow Jesus even to death. Of course, he fled during the crucifixion, but so did every apostle except John.
And what if Thomas had not doubted the resurrection? We would not have that touching scene in John 20 when the resurrected Jesus allows Thomas to touch his wounds. We wouldn’t have Thomas’ loving cry, “My Lord and my God!” (20:28). I like to repeat this simple prayer, especially after receiving communion. Without Thomas’ doubts Jesus might not have said “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” This sentence is one of those beautiful phrases that Jesus speaks not for the apostles, but for us centuries later.
Thomas, sometimes I want to hide my thoughts from God. My thoughts and troubles don’t seem worthy to bring to prayer. Help me to realize that I don’t need to lie to God; in fact, I can’t lie to him. The gentle way Jesus responded to your doubts encourages me. Teach me to bring my little doubts and failings to Jesus so I can experience his tender mercy. Pray for me. Amen.