Read This Week: John 20
Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later, his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” – John 20:25-27 NIV.
This chapter of John captures the different appearances of Jesus after He rises from the dead. He miraculously appears to Mary Magdalene, two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Peter, and the Apostles, including a decisive moment on the shores of Galilee. Christ also appears to the Apostles again, but this time one of the disciples is present that wasn’t there on Sunday evening. When the follower, Thomas, heard that Jesus had appeared to them before, he didn’t believe it. He said he couldn’t believe it unless he saw the wounds in Jesus’ hands and the wound on His side.
Then Jesus showed up again and said to Thomas, put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. Stop doubting and believe. As human beings and imperfect followers of Jesus, we have moments like Thomas. Our doubt can lead to an assortment of distractions and paths that lead us away from God. But the Lord loves us so much that He gives us the same wake-up call to examine ourselves and our faith. He stands with us in a room and calls us back to the scars on his feet and hands to remind us of His sacrifice, grace, mercy, sovereignty, and power.
Like when we get a little too full of ourselves, self-sufficient, or desirous of the praise and notoriety that God alone deserves, something inevitably happens that says, stop doubting and believe. We didn’t bring anything into this world and won’t take anything out of it, so we must not allow doubt in who God is to make us arrogant and prideful. We must allow faith to humble and mature us.
When mistrust in the Father leads us to get a little too pious, self-righteous, or judgmental, God says, stop doubting and believe. We’re human and were once dead in sin before we placed our faith in Christ, so we must not allow doubt to make us like Thomas or the Pharisees. We must enable faith to give us the trust and acceptance of a submissive child.
When suspicion about our identity in Christ leads to self-consciousness, insecurity, and a lack of significance, Jesus says, stop doubting and believe. We are made in His image with meticulous care to love, worship, and be in a relationship with Him. We must not allow doubt to make us feel worthless and unimportant. We must allow faith to remind us of our place as children of God and heirs to His throne.
Doubt doesn’t equal no faith, but it can have a negative impact on all the blessings and spiritual benefits that come with our relationship with God through Christ. Faith is not absent in doubt, but it is much better. It empowers us to place a greater value on what is eternal instead of squandering too much on secular values that decrease valuable margin and prevent intimacy with Christ. Faith incites humility and helps us seek help to sure up blind spots that plagued Thomas and every Christian. Faith recalls God’s promises when faced with uncertainty and is the best answer to anxiety. Faith remembers the resurrection and the victory that we experience every day. Stop doubting and believe.