Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Believing Thomas, Hope for You and Me

Whenever I hear the term 'Doubting Thomas,' I always get a bit frustrated--this term ignores the fact that Thomas moved beyond doubt into a robust faith in Jesus' resurrection and divinity. I don't know about you, but I feel like this is a significant injustice.

We remember Abraham as the 'Father of Faith,' Moses as the 'Most Humble Man That Ever Lived,' and David as a 'Man After God's Own Heart,' despite the fact that Abraham struggled with unbelief, Moses got angry and struck the rock and David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah. Why is it that we have so much grace for these Old Testament men, but so little for Thomas.

So I propose that we never use the term 'Doubting Thomas' again, instead replacing it with 'Believing Thomas.' John 20:26-29 it says:
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!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas' exclamation here becomes one of the clearest statements of Jesus' divinity in the New Testament, "My Lord and my God!" In a way this statement represents the ultimate realization of Jesus' disciples of his true identity and purpose. 

Thomas did not continue in doubt, but put his faith in Jesus' resurrection and identity as God's only Son. According to tradition, as one of the twelve Apostles, Thomas took the Gospel as far as India--in the end he died a martyr's death, holding firm to his faith in Jesus' resurrection.

Encountering Jesus brings fundamental changes to a person's life and identity--I am no longer Ian the sinner, I am Ian the saint--beloved of the Father. Thomas didn't stay a doubter, he became a believer, and that is hope and good news for all of us today. "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:13-14)

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