Faith and Doubt (01-04-22)
Bible Reading: John 20:24-28
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
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."
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them.
Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said,
"Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
I love the story of Thomas. I think he is someone who embodies the Christian journey that we are all on, a journey that includes both faith and doubt. Usually remembered as ‘Doubting Thomas’, I think he would be better known as ‘Believing Thomas’. Just a week after the resurrection he came to the place where he was able to say to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God’.
In conversations I have with people, Christian or not-yet Christian, there are many different subjects that might cause people to doubt God or to question why something is happening. The war in Ukraine is one example. Science might be another. Other religions, natural disasters and child abuse are also often mentioned. And then there are the questions around what it might mean to become a follower of Jesus, and the changes I might need make for him to become my Lord and my God.
For Thomas it was simply a question of believing in the resurrection of Jesus without physical proof, and I am amazed by the grace with which Jesus responded to Thomas’s doubts. Thomas had stated his doubts to the other disciples and then, a week later, Jesus comes, stands in front of him and says, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.” Jesus doesn’t chastise Thomas; he simply meets his honest doubts with a satisfactory answer.
Are there questions you would like to ask God, or things that cause you to doubt God or to question your faith?
The story of Thomas tells us that it is OK to ask our questions and to express our doubts to God. It also tells us that it is OK, and indeed even a good idea, to discuss them with our Christian friends. There will be answers to our questions, they may take a week to come, or they may take longer.
If our questions and doubts are honest, as opposed to just an excuse for not following Jesus, he will help us to overcome our doubts and to come to a place of believing, to a place of being able to say with Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God’.
Tradition has it that Thomas then went on to become the missionary who took the Christian faith to India. Honest doubts are not an obstacle to faith, they are part of the journey of faith.
Lord Jesus, the way, the truth and the life,
Lead me into your truth as I walk on the way that leads to life.
Speak, O Lord, as we come to you