Jesus appeared to his disciples after he had risen from the dead but Thomas wasn’t there. Thomas found it hard to accept that Jesus had risen from the dead until he had seen for himself and as a result many people sadly refer to him as doubting Thomas.
It’s strange that we don’t call Peter ‘Denying Peter’ and I guess that is because he is more well known and so we know more about his story which means that we don’t let that negative moment define him.
So, what else do the gospels tell us about Thomas?
Thomas was one of the 12 disciples and when Jesus was about to head to Judea where people had previously tried to kill him, Thomas said:
Let’s go too so that we can die with him. John 11.16
So why don’t we call him brave Thomas?
So why don’t we call him loyal Thomas?
Shortly before his death Jesus was teaching that he was going back to his Father and he made the statement that they knew where he was going to which the reply came,
“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14.5)
Lots of other people were standing there who were probably confused, but Thomas chooses to be honest.
So why don’t we call him honest Thomas?
So why don’t we call him secure Thomas? (He wasn’t worried about looking daft).
After Thomas’ question, Jesus says,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6)
This is such a helpful summary verse of what we believe but would we have it if Thomas hadn’t asked his question?
So why don’t we call him helpful Thomas?
When Jesus does appear to Thomas, the response is,
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. (John 20.28)
Thomas sees the truth of who Jesus is when others do not
So why don’t we call him insightful Thomas?
So why don’t we call him wise Thomas?
It is especially sad that Christians have labelled Thomas as doubting because our faith is about forgiveness and a fresh start. God doesn’t hold our sin and mistakes against us, removes our sin and looks on us as new people.
If all we knew about Thomas was that he doubted and then he believed, then I think Jesus would look on him as believing Thomas.
Jesus sees the good in us. When we have turned away and found forgiveness for our sin, he wants us to live in the freedom that he has given us.
Our mistakes shouldn’t define us, Jesus’ forgiveness and new start should make us who we are.
God is into recycling and he is not finished with us yet!
We need to stop calling Thomas ‘Doubting Thomas’, that is not how God thinks of him and so neither should we.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5.17)
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