Why Does Thomas Get all the Blame for Doubting?
As I was preparing for a teaching lesson for this Sunday, I looked at the “Doubting Thomas” passage. Jesus appears to his disciples after he rose from the dead. In John’s account (John 20:24-29), Thomas missed the first post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. When they told Thomas that Jesus was alive, he wanted hard evidence. The next week, Thomas was with the disciples in the house and Jesus came through the locked door and appeared to them again, this time proving to Thomas he was alive, showing his scarred hands and side.
Jesus told him to stop doubting and believe. Thomas immediately believed. Was his doubting a sin? The Scripture doesn’t say explicitly, but Jesus did tell him to “stop doubting.” And James says that “he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6).
I believe doubt is part of the natural flow of figuring things out in life (our brains question things and look for proof), so you can’t really blame Thomas too much. In fact, I think Thomas gets singled out unfairly in the history of doubting people. We shouldn’t be afraid or feel ashamed if we sense doubt in our hearts. But when we do, there is a place to go: Scripture and at the feet of Jesus.
We’re all doubters. And so were all the disciples (not just Thomas). Read Luke 24:38 – Jesus said to “the disciples” the following: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Luke 24:38 NIV).
And look at the eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee when Jesus gave them the Great Commission – “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Matthew 28:17 NIV).
Doubt is part of the journey toward faith. Like he said to Thomas, Jesus tells us to stop doubting and believe. In fact, he said that blessed are those who don’t see him in person (as did the disciples) and yet still believe. That means us!
Is following Jesus blind faith? No. We have the evidence of Scripture, thousands of years of tradition and testimonies of the saints passed down to us, and the intangible moving of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.
How do we turn from doubt? We ask God, who will generously give wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5). Note that James doesn’t say that he’ll give wisdom to those who try really really hard to believe. Simply ask God.
2 thoughts on “Why Does Thomas Get all the Blame for Doubting?”
“We have the evidence of Scripture, thousands of years of tradition and testimonies of the saints passed down to us, and the intangible moving of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.”
Scripture is the claim, not the evidence. Miracles and good works are the evidence. Yet, Evangelicalism is less than 200 years old, and all testimonies of saints and ‘movings’ of the spirit are likewise extrabiblical and therefore unreliable.
Even if American Christianity weren’t blind faith, its own doctrines prevent that faith from allowing demonstrable fact to ground it.
Thank you for your reply, Gordon. It sounds like we may have differing epistemologies, and I can respect that.