JOHN 20:29: “Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you’ve seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me but believe.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Do you ever struggle with doubt? The Bible clearly tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. We want to please God, but we find ourselves struggling with doubt. Most of us have heard of “Doubting Thomas”. The nickname itself has a negative overtone. Yet, the Bible does not treat Thomas in this way. In fact, the story of Thomas gives us hope that we can overcome doubt.
The story of Thomas reveals the great love and grace of God, and his deep understanding of our human struggle.
Jesus had risen from the dead. He had appeared to Mary and the other disciples. Thomas was not with them, but was given the report – “We’ve seen the Lord”! Thomas responded,
- “…I refuse to believe this unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my fingers into them, and put my hand into his side.” (John 20:25 GW)
Thomas was not simply going to believe something that he could not corroborate. He was not going to fall for a fanciful story told by well meaning, but misled grieving disciples. Thomas wanted proof. He wanted empirical proof! What happens next shows us the heart of the Lord toward Thomas.
- “A week later Jesus’ disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, and believe.” (John 20:26-27 GW)
Jesus met Thomas at the very point of his need, and his doubt. He did not simply rebuke Thomas. He invited Thomas to believe. He invited Thomas to overcome his doubt with faith by touching Jesus hands and side. Thomas emphatically replied,
- “…My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 GW)
The text does not tell us if Thomas ever really touched Jesus hands and side. Jesus invited him to do so, but this is all we read. Jesus called him to stop doubting and believe. This Thomas did when he cried out – “My Lord and my God!” Did he do that because he had touched Jesus, or did he do that simply because he saw Jesus and heard Him proclaim – “Pease be with you!” It really does not matter. What is important is that Jesus loved Thomas enough to meet him right where he was. Jesus was not willing to leave Thomas behind!
Jesus then exhorts Thomas and all of us when He said,
- “Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you’ve seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me but believe.” (John 20:29 GW)
The question now arises – “What do I do if I am like Thomas?” Jesus knew that He would no longer be coming to stand before every person who had doubts. After His ascension into heaven He no longer would be able to invite us to touch His hands and His side. Yet, He has not left us without an answer to our doubt. He has given us His Word, His Testimony, and His Life so that we can stop doubting and believe!
- “Jesus performed many other miracles that his disciples saw. Those miracles are not written in this book. But these miracles have been written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and so that you will have life by believing in him.”. (John 20:30-31 GW)
Paul writes in the Book of Romans,
- “So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.” (Romans 10:17 GW)
So if you are struggling with doubt – take hold of the pages of the Bible! Touch them, read them, and hide them in your heart. As you do – your doubt will be replaced with faith. You will rise up with faith and confidence as the Holy Spirit opens up your spiritual eyes to see Jesus! You will enter into the blessing of the Lord for those who – “…haven’t seen Me, but believe!”
Don’t be ashamed of your doubt – overcome it through the hearing the message – “…and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke!”
In Jesus Name!