Doubting Thomas?

When we think of Christ’s disciples there are certain words that almost always go with them.

– Judas Iscariot is Judas the Betrayer, Peter denied Christ 3 times — also Peter the Rock Upon which Christ built His Church, John as the one Jesus loves, and Thomas as Doubting Thomas.

Let’s look at “Doubting Thomas” and see if his reputation really fits his character.

Is the fact that Thomas doubted really negative or could it be a positive trait?
– His was an inquiring mind that needed to see the truth to believe — once he saw the truth
he was solid.
– He just needed to see the Truth and wanted his questions answered.

Paul encouraged the Bereans to check the scriptures for what he preached.

Maybe the doubt Thomas expressed is said well in this quote. “His doubt had a purpose. Thomas wanted to know the truth, his doubt gives evidence not a lack of faith, but of a desire to have faith founded in fact not fancy.”

Through history Judas has been the only disciple criticized more than Thomas.
– Thomas wanted proof that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
– Can you blame him?

Thomas wasn’t there when the resurrected Christ appeared to some of His disciples.

Imagine seeing someone die, knowing He was buried, and then hearing from friends that they’d seen Him alive!
– You might feel sympathetic toward them, expecting them to get over it in time.

If they kept telling you on and on and on, you might want to confront them.
– That’s the situation for Thomas.

In recent years, many Christians have become more sympathetic to Thomas.
– They recognize if they’d been in his position they may have had doubts too.

I probably would’ve been a doubter.
– My nickname might’ve become, “Doubting Bill.”

Devotional writer Selwyn Hughes wrote “Those who doubt most, and yet strive to overcome their doubts, turn out to be some of Christ’s strongest disciples.”
Thomas was transformed, saying, “My Lord and my God!”

– That doesn’t shock us like it did the original disciples.

Before then, they called Jesus rabbi, meaning teacher. Christ, meaning the anointed one. The Son of the living God.
– No one ever called Jesus, “God.”

Jewish leaders wouldn’t hesitate to pass the death sentence on Thomas for blasphemy.
– It was an incredible and dangerous thing to say.

The Bible says the one who’d been most honest about his doubts was the first to call Jesus, “God.”

Tradition says Thomas was the disciple who traveled furthest to tell others about Christ.
– Tradition teaches he preached the gospel in Babylon, Persia, and all the way to India.
– There are Christian churches in southern India claiming to trace their heritage to Thomas.

Thomas is mentioned 3 times in John.

John 11:7-16:
7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world.
10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.”
11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!”
13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

The last few times Jesus had been in Judea the Jews had tried to seize and kill Him so there was good reason why the disciples weren’t eager to go back to see Lazarus.

We see the good example of Thomas who knew Jesus was going back no matter what the disciples thought — Jesus was going to His now dead friend Lazarus.

Thomas was very brave because he thought going with Jesus could mean his death.
– He was still willing to follow Jesus no matter what!

He put into action what Christ taught — Mark 8:34-35
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.
35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

Thomas was willing to follow Jesus even if it meant death.
– He wanted to do God’s Will.

This doesn’t show the personality of a doubter — just a man with honest questions.
– Once he has the answers he’s more than willing to follow.

Thomas could only see disaster – but he was for going anyway.

Thomas was determined to be faithful – even in the face of death!!
– For Thomas there may be death, but never be disloyalty.

The 2nd time we find Thomas is John 14:1-6
1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Thomas asked a question all the disciples were thinking which brought one of the greatest “I AM” statements of Christ. “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Probably the most known statement in Christianity came from a question Doubting Thomas asked or maybe just Honest Thomas.

We conclude Thomas lacked faith because he didn’t just accept the words of Christ and go on his way.
– If Christ was going away Thomas wanted to go with Him.
– He honestly said “I don’t know the way but I sure want to follow. Tell me how”.

Not only was he passionate about going with Christ — he asked a question that brings a statement that’s really the heart of Christianity.

These 2 scriptures aren’t where the name “Doubting Thomas” came from — his name comes from John 20:24 where he wants what their telling him confirmed — even then, does he deserve the name, “Doubting Thomas”?

John 20:24-29
24 One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came.
25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

It’s easy to see where the nickname “Doubting Thomas” came from.
– Jesus said, “Stop doubting and believe.”
– So it’s easy to say, “oh well Thomas was a doubter — even Jesus said so.”

Look at the whole story.

Mary Magdalene was the 1st to see Jesus — she told the disciples who were locked in an upper room fearing for their lives.

There must’ve been some doubt in their minds so they had to run see.

Thomas wasn’t the only one needing to see to believe.

Thomas wasn’t with them when Jesus appeared the 1st time.

They told him about it and he said, “I have to see and know for myself.”

– There was doubt, but he wasn’t a doubting Jesus — maybe doubt in man.

He didn’t give up on Jesus when he hadn’t seen Him even a week after everyone else had seen Him.
He showed faith by being with the disciples the 2nd time.

Thomas needed faith based on the fact he’d seen Jesus, he couldn’t take anyone’s word for it — he must see for himself — when he did he no longer doubted and was a faithful disciple.

His reaction was profound as he called Him “GOD” — “My Lord and my God.”

Thomas speaks powerful truth here. He knew he was seeing his risen Lord — he was truly encountering God — He’d never forget or doubt again!

– We can identify with Thomas.

We’ve doubts and want to know something for ourselves. No one’s word’s good enough — we need to know for ourselves.

Is this not having faith?

What’s the greater faith? — One that never doubts or faith that doubts and investigates and believes?

We see examples throughout history of people who doubted — some even went as far as to try to disprove Christ — what happened?

– Lew Wallace wrote Ben Hur, Josh McDowell wrote Evidence that Demands a Verdict.Lee Stroble, a journalist for The Chicago Tribune wrote the series, A Case For……….Andre Kole (Magician commissioned by David Copperfield to disprove the miracles of the Bible), there are many others.

When you hear about doubting Thomas remember he was much more than a doubter he was one who needed to find out for himself, to search out the truth.

He needed to believe not because what others said but because God Himself revealed it to him.

When you know you’ve God’s Truth you’re ready to pay any price — even death:

James was caught by Herod; Herod captured Peter.
They were sharing Herod’s outbreak of attacks upon believers.
James would have to face the sword and Peter would escape it.
They were not afraid of dying; they both knew that they could take it.
Thomas preached in Babylon and India they claimed,
Then the local folks impaled him with a lance while he was praying.
They were all about to die, but they weren’t thinking much about it,
And their story didn’t have a chance but none of them were doubting.

Why oh why would someone die if it was just a hoax?
Why then take the awful risk to tell us Jesus rose?
Simple men from Galilee would not have spoken lies
To get enrolled in history books as martyrs for Jesus Christ.

Simon died along with Jude from arrows spears or crosses
Someone gave Bartholomew a skin-removal process
Some of them were stoned alive like James the son of Alphaeus
And their stories are the evidence that none of them were doubters.

Why oh why would someone die if it was just a hoax?
Why then take the awful risk to tell us Jesus rose?
Simple men like you and me would not have spoken lies
To get well known in all the books as martyrs for Jesus Christ.

A lot of guys were crucified for calling Him Messiah
Philip died and Andrew did and possibly Matthias
Peter’s was a most unpleasant death for being Christian
They would turn him upside down and then go through with crucifixion
Paul, he was beheaded, probably Matthew did the same
Then they threw off of the temple top the other guy named James
They were all about to die but they weren’t thinking much about it
That’s a gory bunch of evidence that none of them were doubters.

Why oh why would someone die if it was just a hoax?
Why then take the awful risk to tell us Jesus rose?
Simple men like you and me would not have spoken lies
To get their names in history books as martyrs for Jesus Christ

Revelation 6:9

9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.

I’m concerned about how gullible modern Christians are.

We need more Thomas’s

There are some dangerous things happening to this lazy generation of “Christians” who won’t take time to know the Scriptures.

They hear something on the radio or TV claiming it’s from the Bible and rather than check it out, they swallow it hook, line, and sinker. – Satan’s doing his best to dilute God’s Word and its working!

There are so many TV and radio “evangelists” pumping out false doctrine, like Benny Hinn, Ken Copeland, Joel Osteen, James Robison, and a host of others and weak, anemic “Christians” just follow blindly rather than question and find out the Truth.

So many Christians are following Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s portrayal of THE BIBLE, THE SON OF GOD, and now, A.D.,THE BIBLE CONTINUES thinking they’re learning the Bible — WRONG!



We sometimes trust others but we still need to be careful to dig the Truth out in the Word of God.

Be like Thomas in his dedication to Christ and his desire to know his risen Lord for himself.

Thomas fits what Josh McDowell once said “My heart cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects.”

Let’s search with our hearts and our minds and discover our risen Lord.

by Bill Woods

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