The Gift of Doubters to The Faith of Us All

July 7, 2017

John 20:26-30

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.”

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.

CONSIDER THIS

I remember as a kid a commercial advertising my favorite breakfast cereal, Frosted Flakes. Tony the Tiger, the cartoon spokesperson for the sugary treat, was trying to get a reluctant young boy to taste the cereal. He called the boy, “Doubting Thomas.” Though hard to imagine such a thing happening now, the biblical reference made perfect sense to us kids back then. It brings to mind the now immortal words of Dorothy to her sidekick dog after being dislocated by the tornado to the land of Oz. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”

In an approaching age where the story of Jesus will be all but forgotten by the post-Christian culture around us, Doubting Thomas will play an increasingly important role. In a post-rational world, people will believe everything under the Sun on the thinnest shreds of personal experience alone, but when it comes to the Bible they will demand proof worthy of the rules of evidence.

This is where Thomas comes in. Thomas needed proof. In response to the eyewitness testimony of his friends, “We have seen the Lord,” Thomas replied, “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.” John 20:25-26.

Thomas is the star witness for an age of would be believers who need more data. The point of Thomas is not to press doubters to hold out for their own proof. His point is to say to doubters, “I see you. I get you. I am you. You can trust me. The deal is real.”

Many would be followers of Jesus may not resonate with Peter or trust Mary. They may be looking for ancient skeptics in their own image like Thomas. We must not despise their press for more data. In the end, Thomas’ doubt leads to the strongest declaration of faith in all of Scripture.

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

It’s strangely and deeply satisfying to behold the way a former skeptic’s doubt turned faith bolsters the courage of us all.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who is risen from the dead and who lives to give us resurrection faith. Awaken the remaining doubt within my soul that I might become more alive to the faith yet waiting to arise in me. I will not fear my doubt but bring it before you where it might be transformed into declarative faith. Jesus, you are my Lord and my God. I pray in your name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What do you think of this notion of those who are like Thomas being able to more easily trust Thomas?
  2. Do you identify with Thomas?
  3. What do you think of the strength of the confession, “My Lord and my God?” Are you ready to make this confession? What would it take for this declaration to deepen in you?

P.S. Next week I am away for a much needed week of investing in my own heart, mind, body and soul. It’s a recovery week of sorts. I will treasure your prayers. My good friend, Omar Al-Rikabi, will be taking the helm for this final week of John’s Gospel. Omar pastors the First United Methodist Church in Heath, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. You will love him.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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