Thomas sometimes gets a raw deal among Christians. He has become the poster-boy for doubt. We literally refer to a person who struggles to believe something as a “Doubting Thomas". It’s no wonder Jesus admonishes a person like that ... right?
As I read these verses, I can’t help but feel that we often miss the heart of this scene. Right off the bat, it is significant that Thomas is even there! ALL of the Disciples scattered after Jesus’ arrest, and for understandable reasons. How would I react if the person I had followed for three years; the One I had left everything for; the One I believed to be the long-awaited Messiah, was crucified and died at the hands of the government. That would be tough to reconcile.
Still, Thomas is here, and his skepticism is understandable. These men are asking him to believe the impossible. They are asking him to put his heart on the line, and he hesitates. I can’t be too tough on him for that.
The part of the story that makes my heart sing is how Jesus responds to Thomas. “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side!” Jesus meets Thomas right where he is. Instead of rebuking Thomas’ skepticism, Jesus patiently answers his questions.
As a Christ-follower, this is a model for me as I represent Jesus in my world. I’m called to answer doubt with compassion; to meet skepticism with patience and understanding. I’m called to meet people exactly where they are. After all, I was once at the same place. I’m a beggar telling other beggars where I found bread. God has patiently brought me closer to Christ, and I want to help others encounter Him, too.