On Sunday night, ten disciples were gathered in a room.
Okay, there may have been more than ten, but only ten of The Twelve were there. Judas was dead. Thomas simply wasn’t present.
It was a gathering of uncertainty. The door was locked. The disciples had heard that Jesus was alive, but weren’t sure what that meant. And they were trusting more in locks than in stories that night.
Suddenly there was another person in the room. Jesus said, “Peace.” Jesus held out his hands. Jesus pointed to his side. The disciples were thrilled.
Sometime during the next few days, the ten tell Thomas, “you should have been there! We saw Jesus! He’s alive!”
And Thomas, with the words everyone thinks should go on his tombstone, says, “Unless I see his hands and touch his hands and side, I won’t believe what you are saying.”
And we talk about doubting Thomas. And we get frustrated with the people around us who aren’t as spiritually trusting as we are, as jumping up and down happy to believe as we are.
But wait a minute.
What was Thomas asking for, other than what the other disciples had already seen? And who was Thomas talking to, other than guys who had wanted to hold back when Thomas followed Jesus into danger at Lazarus’ tomb?
Be honest. You would have been skeptical of Peter, too.
The real measure of Thomas is not his honest skepticism about seemingly unreliable witnesses. The real measure is that, when given the kind of evidence he said he wanted, evidence provided more in Jesus’ words that showed Thomas’ heart than in the actually touching, Thomas acknowledged who Jesus was.
An honest skeptic can see evidence. Thomas, seeing, believed. Still others, believing, see.
A professional skeptic, however, often won’t look.
This was first posted April 9, 2009.
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