Open Your Bible
John 14:1-11, John 20:24-29, Hebrews 10:36-39, Hebrews 11:1-2
Some things seem just too good to be true. But there’s hope, even for doubters.
Thomas was a practical man. He needed to know how things were going to work before he would assent. Is He really risen? Show me the nail scars. How will we get to heaven? Well, someone will need to give directions or scribble down a map. Abstract concepts didn’t seem to be working for him (John 14:5). He needed the concrete facts—that’s just how Thomas thought. Actually, it’s how we all tend to think. Why walk by faith, when you can walk by carefully peer-reviewed sight? (Goodness, Thomas would have loved the fantastic process of academic peer review!) The truth is, most of us are predisposed to doubt just like Thomas.
What then are we to think of Thomas’s faith? We must not make the mistake of thinking Thomas was totally devoid of it. He did believe. Yes, he doubted until the moment He saw Christ appear before him, but Christ Himself still recognized that Thomas believed. Perhaps we could say he was a man of slow, or maybe even weak, faith. Thomas is all of us; while we say, “I do believe,” we must also cry, “help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
Thomas’s life is a reminder of the incredible mercy of God. Jesus had spent years walking with His disciples, teaching them, explaining to them what would happen: how He would be arrested, crucified and buried, and how He would rise again. Thomas had heard all of it, again and again. But the death and resurrection of Christ was a wholly new concept, not unlike how we are slow to understand a color that’s left of red or right of indigo on the spectrum. When the fulfillment came, Thomas fled before Jesus’s captors. He had seen Jesus’s terrible death, yet he still could not come to accept that the rest would come true—that ultimately, it would end, not in sorrow, but in resurrection. It was too good to be true.
But, when at last the Savior stood before him, Jesus did not rebuke Thomas. Instead, He reassured him. He gently encouraged the doubter (John 20:27). What tender mercy! What abounding grace! It feels too good to be true.
As with Thomas, our own common sense and practical realism are often a barrier to deep faith. As with Thomas, we also often walk by sight, instead of believing that God will do just as He said. But for us, as for Thomas, there is grace. God is not threatened by your doubts, or undone by your hesitations. He is gentle and lowly of heart (Matthew 11:29). In His great patience, He calls us into the rest that He gives. The Lord, the Resurrected One who has conquered sin and death, is yet so gracious that He offers comfort to slow and foolish hearts such as ours.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). Despite our skepticism, He gently chides us, saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29), and then also offers us ever-increasing evidence of His faithfulness and truth. He offers mercies that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23), that we may daily repent of our doubting hearts, and run to Him again in faith. The answer to all our doubts, as it was for Thomas, is Christ Himself. Fix your eyes upon Him, because the gospel is true, and our God is so very good.