Doubting Thomas

After his resurrection Jesus appeared to the apostles.  One of them wasn’t present.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “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 20:24,25)

Because of his unwillingness to believe Jesus had risen from the dead he is often called “doubting Thomas.”

Thomas wasn’t the only one to have doubts about Jesus.  John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod and he began to wonder if Jesus was really the Messiah.

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  (Matthew 11:2,3)

But I have never heard of John being called “doubting John.”  Why do people respond so differently to Thomas and John?

Perhaps the reason is that when John is mentioned we think about his life before his imprisonment.  The angel Gabriel foretold his birth.  He was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb.  He preached a message of repentance and many believed him and were baptized.  He even baptized Jesus.  These events outweigh his moments of doubt while he was in prison.

Most people who have heard of Thomas know nothing about him but the fact that he doubted.  The Bible doesn’t say much about him but there is one incident that I believe to be a better indicator of what he was like.  John 11 tells of the death of Lazarus.  Jesus and his disciples were in Galilee and Jesus decided they must return to Judea.  Here was how most of the disciples reacted to this.

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?”  (John 11:7,8)

Here is how Thomas reacted.

So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”  (John 11:16)

This is not the response of a doubter; instead it shows that Thomas loved Jesus and was even willing to sacrifice his life for him.  Thomas never doubted before the crucifixion.  The Bible says nothing about his life afterward but tradition tells us he carried the gospel to India and died there as a martyr.  He demonstrated strong faith both before and after this incident but we have allowed his doubts to color our perception of him.  Here is a summary of his life taken from the site .

Thomas got a bum rap.  He was no more doubting than the rest of the disciples and the only reason he doubted and the others didn’t was because they had seen the resurrected Christ. When the women came back from the empty tomb and after seeing the risen Christ, the disciples also doubted.  To me, there is no doubt that Thomas was a strong believer and a powerful missionary used by God to the glory of God.


(I came across the site while doing some research for this post.  It looks like a very good site.  I recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible.)

Posted on April 10, 2020, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Doubting Thomas.

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