True doubt never turns away from the facts, wherever they may lead. It stubbornly pursues the truth. It’s Galileo questioning that the world is flat; Chuck Yeager insisting the sound barrier is no barrier at all; Thomas requiring a handling of the evidence.
But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
Consider the doubter’s perspective. When Jesus had drawn up the group itinerary, Thomas had spoken against Jerusalem. As he saw things, it was simply too dangerous a place to visit—Jesus would die, and perhaps the disciples would die with Him. Sure enough, his direst predictions for Jesus have come true. If only they had listened to Thomas, master of the worst-case scenario. Skeptics draw a melancholy satisfaction from the words “I told you so.”
Now, when the disciples are elbowing one another out of the way, shouting over one another to tell Thomas the incredible news (for we all love trumping the pessimist), how does Thomas respond? Just exactly as we’d expect—he recites the Skeptic’s Creed. “Ibelieve it when I see it,” he says. “As a matter of fact, scratch that—I’ll believe it when I feel it. You’ll forgive me for not taking your word for it. I’ll make my own evaluation, if it’s all the same to you.”
Just as we love chastising Peter for failing to walk on water—regardless of whether we would have stepped out of the boat—we’re all too ready to condemn Thomas simply because he insisted on validation. At least he was honest; he called it as he saw it. He never called the disciples’ claims im-possible; he never ruled out miracles. He simply wanted to test the evidence personally.
As we’ll see, Jesus met Thomas at the point of his questions. Ask God with an honest heart, and He’ll always answer you.
David Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants in Your Life (Nashville, TN: W Pub., 2001), 12–14.
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