I read a most interesting piece through an online journal the other day that cast a different light on the apostle Thomas, who is best known for being a doubter.
Consider how John tells the story: “One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 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” (John 20.24-25, NLT).
The story goes on to tell that Jesus appeared to Thomas and the apostle was able to see the wounds for himself, and believe.
The article I read suggests that there was a different reason for Thomas doubting what his colleagues had said about the resurrection. John recounts that when the Lord appeared to them in the Upper Room, “he said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’ Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven’” (John 20.21-23, NLT).
Perhaps, reasoned the author, Thomas doubted the resurrection not because he hadn’t seen for himself, but because the disciples failed to demonstrate what they said Jesus had done in and for them. They hadn’t gone out and forgiven folks. They hadn’t gone out and shared the good news with anybody. They had stayed in the Upper Room because they were afraid of what the authorities would do if they were found.
There is an instructive word for God’s people in this story. If we accept the plausibility that Thomas doubted because he saw no evidence in those to whom Jesus appeared, then we have some soul-searching to do. How can we expect others to believe that Jesus is raised from the dead if we are not living as those who believe it?
We can say that we believe Jesus rose from the dead, and we should. But what are we doing about it? Are we extending grace and forgiveness? Are we telling others what Jesus has done for us? Are we caring for those closest to the Lord’s heart? What are we doing with the good news that Jesus is alive?
Take a few moments to reflect on what you could do this coming week that would encourage others to believe with you that Jesus is alive. How will you ‘do’ the good news?