The twelve apostles included "Thomas" (Matt. 10:3).
When Jesus was crucified, Thomas was shattered. He loved Jesus deeply and wanted always to be with Him. He was willing even to die with Him, but now his greatest fear had been realized: Jesus was gone.
Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection. John 20:25 says, "The other disciples therefore were saying to [Thomas], 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." Thomas was emotionally spent and unwilling to subject himself to any further pain. So he retreated behind a wall of empiricism, saying in effect, "I'm not going to believe this on your word alone. I need proof! I must see Jesus myself."
Because of that, people have labeled him "Doubting Thomas," but remember, none of the disciples believed the resurrection until Jesus appeared to them. Thomas wasn't a compulsive doubter--he was a loving pessimist.
As it turned out, Thomas didn't need as much proof as he thought. When Jesus finally appeared to him and invited him to touch His hands and side, Thomas didn't do either. Instead he immediately cried out, "My Lord and my God!" (v. 28)--which is the greatest single confession of faith ever made.
Thomas struggled with doubt because he didn't understand what Jesus said about His own death and resurrection, and he wasn't with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. He failed to understand God's Word and forsook the company of believers--two common mistakes that can lead to doubt.
Jesus doesn't condemn you when you have doubts. Instead, He gives you His Spirit, His Word, and the fellowship of His people to encourage and strengthen you. So commune with the Spirit in prayer, know the Word well, and never forsake the fellowship of believers. That's how to change your doubts into hope!
Suggestions for Prayer:
Thank God for the presence of His Spirit, the power of His word, and the fellowship of His people.
For Further Study:
Read Luke 24:13-35.
- Why didn't the two disciples recognize Jesus?
- How did Jesus change their doubts to hope?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.