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Thomas - Doubter or Man of Faith?

Thomas - Doubter or Man of Faith?

Update: 2021-03-23
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March 23, 2021
Palm Sunday
Thomas – Doubter or Man of Faith?
Episode 48

John 11:14-16 (NIV)
 14  So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 
 15  and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." 
 16  Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." 

The NLT explains to us what this other name was all about. 

John 11:16 (NLT)
 16  Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, 

Haven’t you always heard Thomas referred to as “doubting Thomas,” not “twin Thomas”?  However, the Bible doesn’t say “doubting Thomas” anywhere.
Thomas certainly doesn’t sound like someone who was filled with doubt in this passage.  In the 8th verse some of the disciples expressed doubt about the idea of going to Bethany, but Thomas said “let’s roll!”

Maybe Thomas deserves more credit than recent church history has given to him.  Maybe Thomas’ problem wasn’t so much doubt, but rather it was honest questioning. 

John 14:5-6 (NIV) 

5  Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 
 6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

I tend to think that this was an honest question that Thomas had, not an expression of doubt.  He did not quite understand what Jesus was talking about.  And so Jesus did not rebuke him, but rather He answered Thomas’ inquiry.  

John 20:19-20 (NIV)
 19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 

20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 

John 20:24-25 (NIV)
 24  Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 
 25  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." 

And here is where we get the nickname “doubting Thomas.”  
Now, it may very well have been doubt.  But I think it wasn’t so much that Thomas didn’t believe that God COULD bring about the resurrection of Jesus, but rather he was unsure as to whether or not God WOULD bring about the resurrection.  

It is hard for us sometimes to believe in the unbelievable.  I think that is what Thomas struggled with.  He knew God could do it, but the question is, would God do it?  

Jesus answered this question for Thomas by showing up again in the room where they gathered.

Jesus was so patient with Thomas.  Each time He helped Thomas to get the answers to his questions.   

Asking questions of God.

  • Thomas had questions, honest questions
  • Sometimes we have questions
  • Not necessarily a lack of faith
  • James 1:5 (NLT)
    5  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
  • Thomas' faith grew stronger from the answers to his questions
  • Take your questions to God
  • Wait for his answers
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Thomas - Doubter or Man of Faith?

Thomas - Doubter or Man of Faith?

Wayne Eppehimer