Thomas was one of the Twelve, Thomas was there for the ministry of Jesus, and Thomas was full of doubt after the news was received following Jesus’ Resurrection; but Thomas is not much different than you and I.
It is something that is within us, something that we can’t really explain. It is something that we must overcome to fulfill our life as a Christian. That something is doubt – not being able to believe in something unless it is there physically. Many times we are like Thomas in that we feel we have to be able to touch something to know it’s there.
I mean, the only reason that we believe in the wind is because we can see the effects of the wind, and we can feel it brush across our skin on a breezy day; but if we couldn’t feel it, would we still believe?
Jesus came to the earth to abolish the slavery that we face each day when we become a party to sin. Each day we are faced with numerous decisions to make – most of which we make sub-consciously – and most of which deal with the subject of right and wrong. But our sins were washed clean, and for that we have no one to thank but the Father of Lights, for sending His son to live a perfect life and to die in our place.
But Jesus’ death would mean nothing without the resurrection, because without that victory over sin and death, we would have nothing to grasp ahold of…nothing to save us. Enter Thomas; the doubter, the one who stated to the others, “unless I can touch his wounds and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Thomas had to touch and see for himself the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. He had a need to see for himself before he would believe – he couldn’t take someones word that Jesus had risen.
We all are like that in some way…many of us feel that we have to see something for ourselves before we believe…we can’t just take someone’s word for it, that would be too easy. Think about it; you hear news of someone’s death – the first thing you do is look in the obituaries to see if it is true…or make a phone call to ask someone else for confirmation; you can’t just take someones word for it. Maybe it isn’t a death, maybe its a storm – you know, when someone says it’s raining, you look out the window to see and make sure; and I’m sure there are many other things that you face in life that are this way.
Jesus knew that Thomas needed to see. Jesus knew that Thomas needed to touch. Jesus knew that Thomas needed to believe. Thomas was going to be instrumental in the Apostles’ ministry to the rest of the world. Thomas needed to be a messenger for the King of Kings – so Thomas needed to believe.
Jesus had appeared to the Twelve without Thomas present, but we see that their word was not what Thomas wanted to see…Thomas had to experience it himself. So, Jesus appeared again…this time knowing Thomas would be there. Jesus entered and looked at Thomas and told him to touch the wounds; Jesus told Thomas to place his hand in His side. We then see something that was crucial to the continuing of the ministry of the Twelve. Thomas replied, “My Lord and My God!” Thomas finally got it, he finally believed. But that is not the end…
Jesus responds to Thomas by asking him, “Do you believe because you have seen?” That is a question that we should hear every time we see a miracle occur in the life of someone…a life that is riddled with illness, or maybe the recovery of someone from cancer…whatever the circumstance, the question is the same, “Do you believe because you have seen?”
But Jesus didn’t stop with the question…because Thomas needed to hear one more thing. The ministry of Thomas, as well as the others, was dependant upon one thing … Faith. The faith of those who would hear the message of what Christ had done for the world. It was a message that was upon the shoulders of the Apostles to share to a sinful world, a message that was to change the world – one life at a time. That statement was this, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Blessed are those…the ones who would hear the message of the Twelve. You and I are a part of that group. How do I know that we are a part of that group? John 17 – Jesus prayed in the garden for the ones who would be touched by His message brought to them from the ones who had been with him. Jesus asked that the Apostles be blessed, and then he asked for a blessing upon those who would hear their message. Jesus had to say this so that Thomas would understand. Thomas needed to understand that he was now to help carry that message to the ends of the earth; but not only Thomas, the rest of those who were called Apostles. Jesus told Thomas in front of the others, not to embarrass Thomas, but to help them understand as well.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” – The key is this…Jesus is saying to them, tell people of the blessing that knowing and following me can bring. Tell them how I saved their lives. Tell them about my Father. Tell them about ME. The words of Jesus were a command to the Twelve; tell the world of the love of Christ.
If Jesus had stopped at the question, Thomas never would have known the answer. It wasn’t a yes/no question when Jesus asked Thomas, “Do you believe because you have seen?” The answer to that had already been made when Thomas responded with, “My Lord and My God!” Jesus was telling Thomas it was his turn to tell someone else…show them my love in your life, show them I exist…you have touched me – now, go touch someone else.
The question today is this, “Why do you doubt?” Jesus has already given the command – touch me, know me, love me, share me. Share me to a dying world, share me to the ends of the earth, share me with those that need me. Jesus is speaking through everything that we’ve ever faced in life – and he is saying, “Believe!”
“Blessed are those you have not seen and yet have believed.” Believe.