Daily Devotional

John 20:29

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

How would you like to be defined by one moment? You live an entire life full of moments both good and bad, but you’re forever immortalized by ONE moment…one moment of doubt. That’s the story for Thomas, “Doubting Thomas” as we often remember him. I have to admit, I’ve always felt like Thomas got a bit of a bad rap. We’ve all had moments when we don’t live up to our highest ideals, and yet poor Thomas gets forever branded by one of these moments.

Thomas also had moments of bravery. After Jesus decides to return to a region where some were seeking to stone Him, it is Thomas who says to the other disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). That's probably a moment he'd have preferred being remembered by. Church tradition tells us that after the resurrection of Jesus Thomas went to India and preached the Gospel. There are still even some Christians in India today who call themselves the “St. Thomas Christians.” Tradition also tells us he was later martyred for the Gospel. Yet Thomas is not remembered for his bravery or dedication, he's remembered for his doubt.

Can any of us blame Thomas for the doubt he had? Surely, he isn’t the only one to ever have doubts. He wasn’t even the first disciple with doubts. When Mary Magdalene sees the empty Tomb on that first Easter morning and returns to tell the disciples, they didn’t sit back and accept her claim at face value. “What’s that Mary? You say the tomb is empty? How nice. Would you like to sit and join us for some breakfast?” No! Instead, they do what any of us would, they immediately got up and went to examine the tomb themselves. After John and Peter arrive at the tomb John 20:8 says, “Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.” Peter and John needed to see the empty tomb for themselves, THEN they believed.

Yes, Thomas doubted. He wanted evidence; he wanted proof. Indeed, he doubted but is it fair to call him a doubter? From the snapshots we know about Thomas it doesn’t seem like he was a perpetual doubter, he just had a moment of doubt.

I can’t help but take a compassionate view of Thomas because I’ve been Thomas; I think we all have. This should help remind us that when we see others at their worst moment, we can choose to forever define them by that moment, or we can choose to remember that they are a human in need of grace, just as we are.

I love that when Jesus did finally appear to Thomas, He didn’t rebuke him, yell at him, or even call him “Doubting Thomas.” Instead, we actually see Him give Thomas the proof he needed. He did also say that those who believe without seeing are blessed (which is great news for us!), and in that sentence is the key; belief. It’s not being perfect that saves us, otherwise we’d all be out of luck. Thomas doubted, but his doubt didn’t condemn him because it was followed by belief and it's belief that saves.
"English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers."