The Gift of Doubters to the Faith of Us All


November 23, 2020

John 20:26-31 (NIV)

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.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


I remember as a kid a commercial advertising my favorite breakfast cereal, Frosted Flakes. Tony the Tiger, the cartoon spokesperson for the sugary treat, was trying to get a reluctant young boy to taste the cereal. He called the boy, “Doubting Thomas.” Though hard to imagine such a thing happening now, the biblical reference made perfect sense to us kids back then. It brings to mind the now immortal words of Dorothy to her sidekick dog after being dislocated by the tornado to the land of Oz. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”

In an approaching age where the story of Jesus will be all but forgotten by the post-Christian culture around us, Doubting Thomas will play an increasingly important role. In a post-rational world, people will believe everything under the sun on the thinnest shreds of personal experience alone, but when it comes to the Bible, they will demand proof worthy of the rules of evidence.

This is where Thomas comes in. Thomas needed proof. In response to the eyewitness testimony of his friends, “We have seen the Lord.” Thomas replied, “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” (John 20:25).

Thomas is the star witness for an age of would-be believers who need more data. The point of Thomas is not to press doubters to hold out for their own proof. His point is to say to doubters, “I see you. I get you. I am you. You can trust me. The deal is real.”

Many would-be followers of Jesus may not resonate with Peter or trust Mary. They may be looking for ancient skeptics in their own image like Thomas. We must not despise their press for more data. In the end, Thomas’s doubt leads to the strongest declaration of faith in all of Scripture.

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

It’s strangely and deeply satisfying to behold the way a former skeptic’s doubt turned faith bolsters the courage of us all.


Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is risen from the dead and who lives to give us resurrection faith. Awaken the remaining doubt within our souls that we might become more alive to the faith yet waiting to arise in us. We will not fear our doubt but bring it before you where it might be transformed into declarative faith. Jesus, you are our Lord and our God. We pray in your name, amen.


1. What do you think of this notion of those who are like Thomas being able to more easily trust Thomas?

2. Do you identify with Thomas?

3. What do you think of the strength of the confession, “My Lord and my God”? Are you ready to make this confession? What would it take for this declaration to deepen in you?

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For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I personally have difficulty relating to Thomas. I believe that those of us who were brought to faith at an early age have little in common with someone who comes to faith as an adult. When comparing conversion experiences, it’s like someone who was born blind and been given sight, explaining that to someone who’s always had eye sight. I guess that’s why newly converted adults make the best witnesses to the lost, they can relate. I believe that I can more easily relate to the disciples on the road to Emmaus experience when they had their eyes opened at the breaking of the bread. Jesus is always really present and all around us; we just have difficulty in noticing Him due to the distractions of this world.

  2. Depending on the day, I offten remind myself of heaven and the cross. I do not fall into doubt.BUT With an unbelieving family and PAIN. I cry out often Lord help my unbelief! Then I am reminded of his cross!

  3. If the world is forgetting the story of Jesus it is because, in my experience, the historic gospel has become the best kept secret of much of the American church landscape; so much so, it was possible for me to spend the bulk of my life as a Methodist/United Methodist and never hear a clear telling of who God is–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–and who I am. The American church has become too focused on “doing things” for people and for God.

    “What we are for isn’t good enough. It just isn’t.
    In fact, I’m not even sure that within The United Methodist Church there is consensus about what we are for.
    …When we are most passionate, we are too often talking about what we have done for God, not what God has done for us.
    It is not good enough to be in favor of doing nice things, even for God or in the name of God.
    We are dying. And it is because we are not certain we believe the world needs Jesus. But if the world doesn’t need Jesus, it surely doesn’t need us.
    The world doesn’t need us to do something for it. The need is far more desperate and devastating than that. We are not enough. We never have been enough, even in our glory days. The world needs – people need – a relationship with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” ;

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