S31P2 – The disciples’ lessons: Thomas

John 20:26‭-‬29
Eight days later His disciples were again inside the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors had been barred, and stood among them and said, “Peace to you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed are they who did not see and yet believed.”

When I was a child, I was quite gullible. As I grew, I learned to be a little more discerning about what I took at face value and who I could believe without question. As I have continued into adulthood, I have become more and more analytical and critical of the information that comes my way. For so long my mantra was “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Sometimes we doubt the things we hear because of their source. Other times we doubt the things we hear because they just seem too outlandish. But there’s a difference between discernment and needing to corroborate and prove everything. Scripture seems to indicate that Thomas was the kind of person who needed confirmation and reassurance before accepting something as truth. His perspective seems to be that his senses are what prove reality. If he could not see or touch it, if he could not hear it or smell it, then it was not so. So when some of the other disciples told him that Jesus had risen, he could not believe it. He needed to see Jesus for himself. And even though Jesus appeared and satisfied his need for confirmation, He taught Thomas a valuable lesson in that.

It is easy and probably common for us to read scripture and wish that we had been able to see and experience the works of God that the disciples were able to see and experience. Reading about the life of Jesus seems to pale in comparison to having lived that with him. And although that might seem to have been the greater thing, Jesus clearly tells Thomas which is greater when it comes to faith. To believe after seeing is one thing; to believe without seeing is quite another. This is not to say that having faith after seeing is simple. Many people in scripture witnessed the mighty hand of God or the miraculous work of Jesus Christ and still did not believe. Faith is difficult either way. But faith is more difficult when there is no physical substance to rely on. That is what Jesus is telling Thomas. I believe He would have desired for Thomas to simply have faith in his resurrection, which He foretold, instead of needing this physical proof to substantiate that claim. It seems as though Jesus is telling him to simply believe and to forget all of his requirements. It is no different than our requiring God to move in our lives in a certain area before we believe that He can move in that area. He wants us to believe before He moves.

Requiring proof before exercising faith is a common obstacle to people believing in Jesus Christ. It is quite a paradox as scripture tells us that faith is the evidence of things unseen. We cannot require evidence before exercising faith if our faith is the evidence. And how much more faith do we need to believe in Jesus Christ merely from reading the words on a page? How much faith do we need to dedicate our lives to him and give him our everything before seeing even one miracle? I believe this is why Jesus says that those who believe without seeing are blessed. We could not be any further removed from the physical life that Jesus Christ led on Earth, yet we can still come to faith in him. To believe that Jesus accomplished the impossible by dying and rising again, and to believe this without having been able to experience it with him, takes great faith. And as we exercise that faith, God blesses us. Salvation is blessing enough. Father, thank You for giving us the faith necessary to believe in your Son sight unseen, and thank You for the blessings You pour out as a result of that faith.