In John 20, Jesus exited the tomb, chatted with Mary for a bit, and then went to visit his disciples. Because of what had happened to Jesus most of the disciples were in hiding when Jesus appeared and told them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
One of the disciples that was not hiding with the others was Thomas. Since we so often reduce people to their worst day he is commonly referred to as Doubting Thomas. We don’t know much about him. His name only comes up 8 times in the Bible and 4 of those only mention him as part of the list of people present. He was obviously Jewish, probably a Galilean, and he was twin.
If we only had Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels Thomas would just be a name on a list. However, in the gospel of John we see what type of person Thomas really was. Our first introduction is in John 11, Jesus’ friend Lazarus has just died, and Jesus was planning to go to Judea to be with the family (and raise him from the dead although we don’t know that yet). Jesus had been making waves in the Jewish community and had just escaped a group that was trying to stone him. The disciples, clearly afraid tried to talk him out of going, unfortunately for them Jesus was determined to go. Thomas said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Thomas didn’t know what was going to happen. He only knew that Jesus wanted to go to Judea, and he was all in. He had faith in Jesus’ leadership; he knew that where ever Jesus was going that’s where he wanted to be. Thomas’ faith was young, but he trusted that Jesus would do all that He had promised.
Then after seeing his savior and friend crucified, the people he had spent the last few years with are now telling him that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to them. Thomas missed it, didn’t believe them, and told them that unless he saw the marks and touched the wounds “he would never believe.”
A week later, Jesus appears to the disciples again, this time with Thomas in attendance. Jesus turns to Thomas and grants his requested opportunity to see the marks and feel the wounds. Thomas can only answer, “My Lord and my God!”
Thomas represents all of us. Faith is not a switch that we turn on and off. There are times in our lives where our faith can wear a little thin, times when it we are tested, and times when we are so full that we can only shout “My Lord and my God!”