An Unfortunate Nickname: Doubting Thomas
Updated: Nov 14
Part 5, Overcoming the Disciples’ Challenges series
Doubt has been with us since the time of Adam and Eve. They doubted God’s Word, so they fell to sin. Abraham, the father of faith, you wouldn’t think that he had any doubts in God’s promises at all, would you? But truth to be said, Abraham had some doubting moments, too. In Genesis 15:2-3, he doubted God’s promise of a son with his wife Sarah, so he gave in to Sarah’s suggestion to have a son with Hagar. He also doubted God’s protection, so he told Sarah to lie in at least a couple of instances (Genesis 12:11-13 and 20:2). Today, I want to share with you the story of Thomas (Didymus) who was given an unfortunate nickname: Doubting Thomas.
1. Jesus returns to his doubting disciples.
“19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked, for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” John 20:19-20
· Doubting enables a person not to make false assumptions based on his/her understanding of things.
· Mary Magdalene came to the grave and saw that missing body of Jesus, and mistakenly thought that it must have been moved to another place.
· The disciples fear they would also be executed by the Roman soldiers.
· Jesus passed through the closed door and stood amongst them to show his nail scarred hand.
· “Peace be with you!” This peace from Jesus dissolves fear and helps the believer to remain in faith.
“Every child of faith, even the “great” ones, had times of significant doubt.” And “it’s foolish for us to compare the strength of our faith with others.” Elyse Fitzpatrick, Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises, Pg. 18.
2. Jesus’ peace dissolves doubt.
“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… “My Lord and my God!” 29 “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:25, 28, 29.
· Just like Mary Magdalene, Peter and John at the beginning, Thomas “did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” John 20:9.
· Thomas has already proven himself to be a loyal follower of Jesus and have asked the right questions in search of truth. See John 11:16; 14:6.
· “Unless I see the nail marks…” Not that Thomas did not want to believe, but it was more of a sincere search for truth.
· Jesus showed the evidence to Thomas that He is the same person who was crucified.
· “My Lord and my God!” was Thomas’ undeniable acceptance of Jesus’ resurrection.
3. Jesus turns a doubter into a powerful instrument.
“30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31.
· John focused on just 7 out of the 35 different miracles recorded in the gospel records, that people might come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God.
· More than the nickname doubting Thomas, he should have been known as a loyal follower of Jesus.
· Thomas’ story was instrumental for the proof of resurrection and the divinity of Jesus.
· It was because of Thomas, who asked for the way to God, that Jesus said one of His famous lines, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” John 14:6.
· Today, John 14:6 is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible for evangelistic purposes.
· Thomas: a powerful instrument of the gospel.