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The Devoted Doubter
Thomas wanted to be left alone. He didn’t know how to process Jesus’ horrific death, nor the fact that he ran away like a coward when he had promised he’d die with him. He remembered the conversation of how he pledged his undying loyalty to Jesus.
Lazarus had died, and Jesus wanted them to go to Bethany to be with Mary and Martha. But the disciples didn’t understand Jesus’ delay, or why Lazarus needed help “waking up,” or why Jesus would insist on going where they had already tried to stone him.
To the disciples, the trip seemed more dangerous than advantageous, but Thomas spoke up in favor of following wherever Jesus led. He said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). It wasn’t so much a statement of defeat, but resolve. The last three years with Jesus had changed him, and if the price of devotion meant following Jesus to his death, Thomas was ready to lay it all on the line.
But when his test of devotion came in the Garden of Gethsemane, Thomas didn’t follow Jesus to his death, instead, he ran away in fear. Some brave follower he turned out to be!
On the Sunday after the crucifixion, the disciples (without Thomas) were huddled together behind locked doors, when suddenly the resurrected Jesus appeared in their midst. In their joy, the disciples ran to tell Thomas the good news that they had seen the Lord. But instead of rejoicing, Thomas was stuck inside his grief and replied, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25).
This statement earned Thomas the nickname Doubting Thomas. Maybe his refusal to believe wasn’t because he doubted a resurrection was possible, after all, he had just seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. But his pessimistic tendencies, coupled with his disappointment in his own cowardice, might have caused him to punish himself by refusing to believe the good news.
Eight days later, Jesus reappeared again to the disciples, this time with Thomas. He approached Thomas and addressed the very points of his doubt, “Put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (26).
If you find yourself with Thomas-like tendencies of doubt, pessimism, and melancholy, take heart in Jesus’ tender dealing with Thomas. Jesus didn’t rebuke his doubt but graciously met him in it. When the timing was right, he moved toward Thomas offering him the very evidence he needed to move from disbelief to belief.
From Thomas’ lips came the strongest and most conclusive testimony of the deity of Jesus Christ. You can, like Thomas, confidently put your faith in Christ and declare with all the former doubters of the world, “My Lord and my God!”
*If you enjoyed this study, you'll probably also enjoy The Faithful & The Vile.
About this Plan
Jesus met characters of all sorts on his way to the cross. Like a diamond refracting light no matter which way it turns, the cross becomes more wonderful from their different perspectives. In this 7-day study, worship at...
We would like to thank Cara Ray for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: https://www.cara-ray.com