You ‘doubting Thomas’! Ever been called that? I’m not sure I have. We find the story of ‘doubting Thomas’ not here in John 11, but in chapter 20:24. Thomas was a twin. Maybe he didn’t like everyone thinking that he and his twin always thought alike, saw eye-to-eye. Maybe he had to see it for himself. When the disciples said that they saw the risen Lord, Thomas demurred saying that he’d never believe unless he could see and even touch Jesus. Hence, ‘doubting Thomas’.
Know what happened? Jesus shows Himself…to Thomas. Alive! And we get blessed, those who have never seen Him and yet believe. That’s us! I wonder if we’ve been a bit tough on Thomas, ‘the doubter’? What about this episode here in John 11?
Lazarus has died. Jesus delays His visit for some unknown reason. He comes when He’s ready. And raises Lazarus from the dead. Thomas witnesses this miracle. Here’s a bit of context. During the most recent Feast of Tabernacles, the religious leaders try to arrest Jesus(John 8:44). Rumors circulate that some want to kill Him(7:25). A crowd attempts to stone Him(8:59), while at the Hanukkah Feast they try to arrest Him(10:39), again picking up stones to kill Him(10:31). Tensions mount. Threats grow. The disciples sense that the fate of their Master could be theirs as well. Jesus told them of His coming death. They can’t fathom it. Too horrible to contemplate. They block it out.
But not Thomas. Not this time. He says clearly, with boldness and courage–‘…Let us also go, that we may die with Him'(John 11: 16). These are words of one who refuses to let Jesus face death alone. These are passionate words of a true friend, a dear brother, a faithful follower. No doubt about it! No ‘doubting Thomas’ here.
Though he faltered some after the resurrection of Jesus(and who didn’t?), yet Thomas has been a true follower of his Lord. We falter at times. I have…many times and, sad-to-say, I’m probably not done yet. Like Peter, who denied Jesus three times; and John the Baptist, from prison, questioning whether his cousin truly was the Messiah; so Thomas had his moments… of doubt and stumbling. Yet, Jesus comes to Thomas to show him exactly what he needs to see. And not only Thomas. Jesus comes to us, even with all our sin, yet with His hands of forgiveness and second…third…fourth(and then even more)chances to get up and follow Him. Why does He keep doing that? You know! He loves us so much. Of that, there’s really no doubt!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us a new start after we’ve stumbled and fallen. When our faith is weak, you draw near to us to lift us up. In Jesus’ name. Amen.