Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
Hearing about Jesus was not going to be enough for Thomas. In fact, not only would it not be enough, but it just wasn’t going to cut it at all. He didn’t want to sit down, and be told what happened to Jesus, he was not going to believe that. I mean, what were the other disciples thinking…? Thomas was pomo [or at least premodern]! He didn’t care about the proof others had – the reasons they could give for the re-existence of Jesus the Christ. He wanted an experience. Thomas wanted to have a tangible experience with Christ; and until then…
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas the Doubter. Doubting Thomas. Thomas has always gotten the short end of the stick. Sure he doubted – but is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. So often we create polar opposites between doubt and belief, as if to say when one “believes” in God, there will (or should) be no doubts. And we make doubt out to be this bad thing…a dirty-5-letter word in Christian circles. Yet, Jesus says nothing about Thomas’ doubt until he has had a real, tangible, indisputable interactive experience with Christ. It is only then that Jesus instructs Thomas to “stop doubting” and believe. Doubt is a healthy aspect of our spiritual journeys, and we should really give Thomas a break because he was simply sharing his pre/post-modern sensibilities. Maybe we should be talking less, reasoning less and listening to the Spirit as to how we can give our friends and family tangible experiences of Christ…
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
May we all echo Thomas’ words of praise and adoration to Jesus once we have had an experience with him.