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The Thomas We Don’t Remember

Kristee Ravan & Alina Kanaski


Thomas gets a bad rap. We call him “Doubting Thomas” and remember him as the disciple who said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Truth be told, Thomas was a lot like us. He had doubts; he had faith. But he also had the courage to stand up and say so.

JOHN 11:1–44 (NRSV)

Jesus had just escaped an attempt on his life. The religious leaders in Jerusalem were enraged. Because Jesus claimed to be one with the Father, equal to God, they were ready to kill him. Jesus and his disciples left the area.

Then Jesus heard about the death of his friend Lazarus and decided to go to Bethany to comfort Lazarus’s sisters. The disciples reminded him that people there were also trying to kill him and urged him to avoid Bethany; but one disciple spoke up and said, “Let’s go too. If Jesus dies, let us die with him.”

Who said that? Was it the bold, brash Peter? Nope. James or John, the faithful “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17, NRSV)? Not them either. It was Thomas. Wait—Thomas? Doubting Thomas? He was that courageous? Yes, Doubting Thomas was courageous enough to die with Jesus if necessary.

 

JOHN 14:1–7 (NRSV)

When Jesus was explaining that he would have to die, he said cryptically, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” Only Thomas had the courage to say what everyone else was thinking: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” It takes courage to admit you don’t understand.

 

JOHN 20:19–29 (NRSV)

It also takes courage to admit you have doubts. Thomas faced his doubts, admitted them, and found the proof he needed to declare, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas may be called “Doubting Thomas,” but he isn’t doubting now. He’s convinced. He knows that Jesus is the Christ. Do you?

Let Doubting Thomas help you find the courage to confront your doubts and to confess your faith.

— Kristee Ravan

 

DIG DEEPER

Is it really better to be without doubts? Questions are good. Questions and doubts help strengthen our faith. Searching for answers to our questions, even if we never find them, can help us grow closer to God. Blindly following God, having faith without thinking about or understanding what we believe, often leads to a shallow relationship with the Lord.

Besides, Jesus doesn’t mind questions. Throughout the Gospels, he takes the time to answer questions patiently and honestly, no matter who is asking.

What are your doubts? What are your questions? Ask Jesus, or write about them in your journal. Listen and search for answers. Let your questions lead you closer to God.

— Alina Kanaski, 19
—from devozine (March/April 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.
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