When Thomas came to be nicknamed a doubter
Thomas came to be associated with that uncomplimentary adjective when he (understandably) doubted the seemingly impossible news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.
This was because as at the time the risen Jesus showed Himself physically to His followers, Thomas was away to only-God-knows-where.
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.John 20:24
While Thomas was AWOL, the news of Jesus’ Resurrection had broken out amongst His disciples giving them great joy. And Jesus had presented Himself to His disciples too. But Thomas would take none of that, saying, he would not believe the resurrection story until he saw Jesus face to face.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.John 20:25.
Talk about someone who says seeing is believing! That was our man, brother Thomas. Don’t you know at least one person in your life that is like that, who will not believe anything except he or she sees it? Or maybe you are even like that yourself!
How Jesus responded to Thomas’s doubt
Thomas had his wish seeing Jesus physically come through, but not immediately. It took another eight days before the doubting disciple became a confirmed ‘believer’. That was how long it took before Jesus appeared physically again to the Disciples.
It sounded like Jesus was saying to him, “Thomas, why do you doubt so much? Here, come touch me, feel me now… Are you convinced now?”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:28-29
Thomas moved from doubter to believer after seeing the evidence
At the juncture of meeting Jesus physically after His resurrection, all the doubts in Thomas vanished. An believer a strong believer of the resurrection story.
With the overwhelming evidence right before him, he had no other choice than to acknowledge the ‘First Born from the dead’ as both ‘Lord and God.’
Therefore, beyond the popular view that portrays Thomas as a doubter, a sceptic or an incredulous person, the outcome of this recorded exchange between the resurrected Lord and this hitherto unbelieving disciple, affords us one of the indisputable written firsthand evidence of the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ available to us today. It is a valid record that after His Resurrection, someone actually touched Jesus by the nail marks on His hands and feet, and His arrow-pieced side.
This showed a solid and indisputable connection between the same Jesus that was crucified on the cross and the One that resurrected and showed Himself to His disciples that He lives.
Changing the narrative
Beyond being labelled a doubter for seeking a physical proof before believing that Jesus had resurrected, Thomas should be appreciated for the role he played in having Jesus present Himself again to His disciples (and to the world) in order to further verify His resurrection from death through a conscious physical examination of the resurrected body.
Also read: Thomas, the Disciple – More than a doubter 2
In what way do you relate to Thomas’s behaviour? Was his doubt justified? Your comments are welcome.
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