The other disciples therefore said to [Thomas], “We have seen the Lord.” So 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.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
One of my favorite episodes of the Twilight Zone involves a young man who is about to be laid to rest. Then, in the midst of the funeral service, the casket opens, and he sits up. People are gasping and fainting, and no one can believe their eyes. Immediately, his family members start to investigate whether it really is him. The entire episode is one person after another trying him and testing him to make sure something sinister or otherworldly is not afoot. Each time, he shows that he has the knowledge he should have and the memories he should have. However, he could not blame those people for their skepticism because his return was unexplainable and seemingly impossible.
We call him doubting Thomas, and there is good reason for that. Yet, I also see a critical lesson for us in Thomas’s words of disbelief. We live in a time of false prophets. There are half a dozen men alive today who profess to be the second coming of Christ, and those are just the ones of whom I have heard. Each of them has his following of loyal lambs, but each is only leading those lambs to the slaughter. There is a lesson about discernment in these words of doubt because we are living in a time of great deception. If someone announces that Jesus has come back, I surely would need to see him for myself. His appearance would have to measure up to the word and what has been foretold about it.
If there is one thing that all martyrs hold in common, it is that they are sure of what they believe. They have confidence, conviction and commitment. To die for a cause or a belief is no small thing. If we are to stand on the truth, we first must know what that truth is. We must ask the difficult questions and look with critical eyes. We must take that with which we are presented and hold it up against the word of God. The truth will be proven by the word, but it is for us to take that measurement and take it carefully. Father, make us discerning and deliberate so that we would not be fooled by the counterfeit in our search for the truth.