I think poor Thomas gets a bum rap. There’s not one of the Eleven who believed without seeing. Luke reports that not one of them believed the women’s eye witness testimony. None of them packed their bags for Galilee assured by words alone that the risen Jesus would meet them there! Jesus rebuked them all for troubled-filled hearts and doubt-plagued faith.
Yet in John 20 Thomas’ skeptical soliloquy plays out in vivid detail. His lips demand tactile confirmation that Jesus’ lifeless clay pulsed again with vitality. Bum rap or not: doubting Thomas becomes his title!
But why get so defensive about Thomas? Because I am Didymus’s long lost twin. It never ceases to amaze me how many times I can be told of the glorious truth of his resurrection – even preach about it no less – and still my heart is so quick to be troubled as doubts rise up to challenge faith.
That I have a risen Lord who lives and rules eternally renders every fear foolish – from their locked door cowering about Jewish retaliation to my shamed silence in the face of postmodern scoffers. Yet I fear.
How quickly my heart reminds me that I have never seen a dead body revived and clothed in glory. How quickly it accuses me of foolishness for basing my life and eternity on something I have never seen. And so I doubt.
How wondrous that makes Jesus’ patience! Rebuke them he does, but he still shows them his hands and his side. Proclaim the blessedness of those won to faith without any crutch of sight, but that doesn’t stop him from pulling aside his robe and inviting Thomas to stretch out his hand.
In such patience he deals with me! Just his words alone echoing in my heart should be enough, but he does more than justly rebuke my slowness to believe. He wakes me up from my stupor by splashing the water of baptism over me, providing tangible evidence that I’ve already been buried and risen with him. Yes, I shouldn’t need to taste and see that the LORD is good. He has told me so already, and he never lies. Yet he invites me to stretch out my hand and take eat and take drink. There he allows me to taste and see that all my doubts and fears are groundless.
How wondrous that our risen Lord who doesn’t waste his best strength upbraiding us for littleness of faith. Instead, he pours his best efforts into up-building us: fanning dying embers into a roaring blaze.
So he dealt with Thomas. So he deals with Didymus’s twin: me. Triplets, you say? Yes, so he deals with you!