The tail end of the Easter story involving Doubting Thomas always made me feel guilty because I agreed with him that questions should be asked. Did that make me a “doubter” too?
During the past year, we’ve learned we can’t always trust what we see, hear and read. Rioting, protests, rallies, storms, shootings, elections and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic have often left us with more questions than answers.
Even after I brought my baby home from the hospital, I was overwhelmed with the sudden change and commented, “I can’t believe he’s mine.” My husband replied, “I was there, believe me, he’s yours.” Some things are so monumentally overwhelming, they just don’t make sense, even when the proof is right in front of us.
As an inside member of the close-knit Disciples, Thomas knew Jesus well. For some unreported reason, he wasn’t with the rest of the group when Jesus appeared to them after he rose from the dead. Thomas didn’t get to see or hear what the others experienced. When the Disciples finally caught up with Thomas, you can imagine they were breathless with over-the-top excitement and couldn’t wait to describe what had happened.
“You’re never going to believe who we ran into.” “Have we got a story for thou!” “I’m still shaking!” “Dude! He was like, right in front of me!” “You’d better sit down.”
I can almost imagine Thomas’ eyes narrowing and darting around the room at the faces of his animated friends. Was this some kind of sick joke or prank? What was wrong with these guys? Perhaps it was their passion, or maybe it was because he knew these men so well, but something finally convinced him they truly believed what they were saying. It was then, Thomas said he needed proof. This may make him the first investigative reporter in history, seeking out fake news.
It’s important to remember, he was “Doubting” Thomas, not “Unbelieving” Thomas. Already strong in his beliefs, this new twist just had to be seen. That’s understandable.
From that point in the story, I always thought Thomas was in big trouble for doubting, but later that week, Jesus showed up and spoke with Thomas and allowed him to touch his wounded side and see his scarred hands. He wasn’t angry at all but was there to give Thomas the answers he needed. The questioning Disciple wasn’t in trouble. He was being equipped to go and spread the good news of the resurrection. Jesus turned Thomas into an excellent eyewitness.
Jesus said Thomas was blessed for believing, but also mentioned that we – those of us today in 2021, would be especially blessed for believing without seeing with our own eyes. He knew it would be harder for us. Our trying modern times of living in a world full of rumors, conspiracy theories and misinformation causes us to doubt everything. Thomas is a great example of being faithful while searching for truth.
Maybe Doubting Thomas should have been called, “Inquisitive Thomas.” But no matter what you think of him, Thomas’ belief and journey of confirming the truth is an important part of the resurrection story that ends with the beautiful promise that belief will bring us “life through his name.”
This story first appeared in AL.com newspapers