As I have studied through the Gospel of John this year, I have grown to appreciate an unlikely character: Thomas.
You’ve probably heard someone refer to him as “Doubting Thomas,” but that’s just rude. This dude is my patron saint.
Here’s literally every recorded encounter he had with Jesus in the Gospel of John:
In John 11, Jesus told his guys they were headed to Bethany where a bunch of people wanted to kill him. Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (vs 16) In other words, “Following Jesus is gonna get us killed.”
In John 14, Jesus announced he was going away and they knew how to follow along. Thomas said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (vs 5). In other words, “no we don’t.”
In John 20, Jesus came back from the dead and appeared to a bunch of the disciples (but apparently not Thomas). When they told him they had seen Jesus face to face, he said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (v 25). In other words, “you guys are full of crap.”
To summarize, in the Gospel of John Thomas says, “Following Jesus is gonna get us killed…we have no idea how to follow Jesus…there’s no way he actually rose from the dead.”
Calling him “Doubting Thomas” is character assassination! He’s more like “Normal Guy Who Actually Says What Everyone Else Is Thinking Thomas.”
Oh, and I forgot one of his interactions with Jesus. After telling the guys the only way he was going to believe in Jesus was sticking his hand into the nail marks on his wrists and the bloody wound in his side (which is really gross, by the way), Jesus showed up and invited him to do just that (because that’s how Jesus rolls).
“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
Doesn’t sound like a doubter to me. Just a normal guy learning how to deal with Jesus.
I can’t wait to meet him someday.