POOR Thomas. We all know the story of the doubting disciple named Thomas. In the Gospel of John, it states Thomas was not present when Jesus suddenly appeared. But to be fair, all the disciples also doubted the Resurrection. In fact, the only one who believed was Mary Magdalene. She did not recognize Christ immediately at the tomb and it took Jesus to mention her name and that was when she believed because Jesus showed Himself. “Rabboni” And she knew and believed.
Not true with the disciples though. But when He appeared they all believed. So what is this Doubting Thomas story? They all doubted, but he is the focus. Let us go back to what Thomas said and examine what it meant. “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.” That is not a statement of doubt. It is a desperate plea. He is saying I want to believe and I want to believe it desperately. I need to see and touch. Of course, there is an element of doubt and yet the overriding emotion is of despair. It is saying something like, I need to see because I want it to be true.
It is so easy for us and even convenient to discard Thomas as a doubter yet we are all guilty of doubt or worse, unbelief. We can all throw stones at Thomas and be incredulous and merciless, but think about it, what would you do if you were Thomas or the disciples? How would we react?
Let us suppose there was social media at that time of Jesus. How would people react to a female teenager who suddenly becomes pregnant by the Holy Spirit? In a word, piyesta. They would all pounce on this helpless young woman. She would go viral. And can you imagine if that happened today? What with all the sanctimonious, self-righteous and all-knowing of this generation? It would be a massacre. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Pharisees of today and the past are the same except perhaps for the clothes. The rest are still what they have always been. And the only sane person in this whole show is Jesus himself.
When He finally appears to Thomas, the reaction of Thomas is, “My Lord and My God.” That sums up all that I have been saying about Thomas. But it is incredible when we hear the words of Christ.
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” There is no condemnation, only mercy and compassion. So unlike all that surrounds us. So unlike all that surrounded Christ. We are all doubting, we are all afraid and only Jesus is the rock on which we hold onto. And if perchance we believe then our path is to guide those who do not instead of scorching them with our pontifications. We have had enough of the self-righteous and the all-knowing.
We are here for each other.