Copyright ©2018 Keith Holder, Rays of Light Bible Lessons. All Rights Reserved.

Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

DOUBTING THOMAS

John 20:24-29 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto Him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto Him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

In Luke 24:36-40 (Also Referred to in Mark 16:14 and John 20:19-20) we find recorded that Jesus appeared amid His apostles, and possibly others that were His disciples, as they had gathered behind closed doors in a home in Jerusalem. There they viewed Jesus' nail pierced hands and feet, as well as His spear pierced side, which led to their belief that He was their risen Lord.

The lesson text begins here by saying that Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. To explain his name more understandably, "Didymus" is the Greek translation for the Hebrew name, "Thomas." The other ten apostles had witnessed Jesus alive at His first appearance, and said to Thomas, We have seen the Lord. It was at this point that "Doubting Thomas" said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. Bible scholars have heaped much blame on this apostle for his doubtful conduct saying that, as one of the original twelve apostles of Jesus, he should have believed testimony of the other ten apostles when they unanimously acclaimed Jesus to be the Lord, the Son of God, and the promised Messiah. However, looking back at the preceding verses 19 and 20, we find that it was the wounds that Jesus received on the cross of Calvary that served as proof for them to identify their resurrected Lord and Savior when He first appeared to them. Thomas asked for no more proof than they. The question that could, and probably should, be asked here is this: Would Jesus expect any follower of His today to unequivocally accept any spiritual concept attested to by ten other "Christians" without scriptural proof that their teaching was in total agreement with the New Testament Word of God? I think not!

This appearance by Jesus to all eleven apostles took place eight days after He had previously appeared before the ten. At His appearance on this occasion, and as before, having the doors to their abode securely closed to allow their meeting to be in secret, Jesus greeted them once again with this common salutation, Peace be unto you. Jesus then said to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side. There can be little doubt that Thomas did exactly as Jesus had requested. Without relying on sight alone, Thomas more than likely inserted his fingers into the nail wounds, and placed his hand into His side. Certainly Jesus knew the doubting statement that Thomas had previously expressed to his fellow apostles. Thomas refused to rely on the testimony of other apostles. He demanded physical proof that Jesus had risen from His crucified death. In other words, Thomas' actions demonstrated his lack of faith. Therefore, Jesus told him to be not faithless, but believing.

To this Thomas humbly submitted to the teaching of Jesus by answering, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto Him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. This is the lesson that, not only Thomas, but all would-be Christians must hear, understand, and believe. If Thomas was unable to accept Jesus as the resurrected Savior of mankind by the testimony of Jesus' apostles, how is the world expected to do so today? The hope of eternal salvation offered by God through His Son, Christ Jesus is totally dependant on believing faith. And, in order to have access to that hope, our faith must lead us to complete obedience to God's plan of salvation. By faith we must repent of our past sinful life, confess Jesus to be the Son of God, submit to baptism for the remission of sins, and live a life worthy of God's amazing grace that will be extended to His faithful children on the day we will all be judged at the end of time. Thomas never doubted thereafter, and neither should we!