Most of us find a terrible joy in labelling people negatively. Perhaps no one else among the disciples of Jesus got a negative label than Thomas. We love to call him “Doubting Thomas.”
But the more I think about it, the incident related to the risen Lord appearing to Thomas is about how Jesus deals gently with you and me (John 20:24–29).
The first thought is that the risen Lord came back one more time for the one who was absent the first time. He, even after his resurrection exhibits the same quality of a faithful shepherd who goes searching after a sheep that has gone astray. If by any chance you have missed the joy of meeting the risen Lord he will come searching for you.
The second thought is that Jesus did not give up on Thomas because he doubted. The point Jesus made was about what faith is all about. It is reason that insists on seeing and believing. But faith believes without having seen. Today it is not the appearance of the risen Lord that makes people believe; but simply the proclamation of the good news that Jesus is alive.
The third thought is that doubt can turn to faith. The confession of faith that came from “Doubting Thomas” is a gem of faith. He said, “My Lord and my God (John 20:28).” Till then Jesus was his Master and Teacher. Now in one swift stroke of recognition he acknowledges Jesus for he who really is.
The final thought here is how personal his faith became at that moment. He said MY Lord and MY God. When you meet the risen Lord, faith cannot be based on a Jesus of history but it has to be based on a living, personal and dynamic relationship with a living Saviour.
Have you experienced Jesus this way? If not, do not label Thomas and feel that you are a better person. You need to remember that he was the one who earlier had said to all the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him (John 11:16). In that he showed remarkable courage. But now, he is confronted not with death, but with Life that the grave could not hold. JESUS!
“My Lord and my God!”
Why was Jesus not captured and punished again when He appeared alive on the third day of His death? Obviously no law can punish someone twice on same account. But at the same time, they also knew that they didn’t have a tomb to bury Him for ever!