We know Thomas best by his famous statement soon after Jesus’ resurrection:
“Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” (See John 20.)
We tend to think of Thomas’ lack of faith because of Jesus’ response a few days later when he showed Thomas his hands and side: “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
A closer look at Thomas might help us understand him better and learn from his approach.
Thomas was faithful. “That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, ‘Come along. We might as well die with him'” (John 11:16, MSG). Thomas believed in the cause, but he also believed in Jesus—even if Jesus was going to be attacked by the religious leaders, Thomas was willing to be by his side. (Yes, all of the disciples eventually bailed, but at his best, Thomas was willing to follow Jesus, even if it didn’t have a positive end result.)
Thomas was practical. “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?” (John 14:5). Thomas was willing to ask the clarifying questions. When he didn’t understand, he didn’t let things slide—he asked the questions he needed answered to bring things down to home.
Sometimes our journey feels rough, and the best response is to ask the concrete questions:
Along with the boldness to ask these hard questions comes the bravery to follow Jesus wherever He might lead.
Does God ever confuse you? Do you just hold your breath and hope things will soon make sense again? What would happen if you took some times to ask God to explain what He is up to?
Thomas may have doubted, but he never doubted Jesus. What questions would you like to ask God?
Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at deepimprints.com. She writes a weekly column for ministrytodaymag.com.