Thomas

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it. (John 20:24-31)

Healthy skepticism can all too easily become pathological. After all the people Jesus had raised back to life, after all Jesus’ promises, after everyone he knew affirmed it, Thomas’ skepticism is somewhat extreme. He saw Jesus die. And likewise, he refuses to accept his resurrection unless he sees it for himself.

When Jesus appeared before Thomas, he said “Peace be with you!” That was merely the standard Jewish greeting, “Shalom alekem,” the equivalent of “Hi!” Picture a situation comedy, with one character discussing a second character, unaware that the second character has just walked into the room. That’s the situation that Thomas was in: “he’s standing behind me, isn’t he?”

In the midst of the shock of Jesus’ suddenly showing up, Jesus offered Thomas exactly what he asked for. Of course, Thomas wasn’t expecting to actually have to touch Jesus’ nail holes in order to believe. He had simply been expressing his frustration and his need to see Jesus for himself.

When we believe that Jesus lives without the opportunity to see him or touch him we are more blessed than Thomas. How so? Because of the value God places on faith. Trusting God brings its own reward: we can relax in the face of adversity, even when we don’t see a way out, because we have learned to trust God for what is unseen. We have more blessing—more happiness—and less worry than poor Thomas ever had.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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