Ann has called us to write about faith today, and I want to do that, but I think I am going to come in through the back door. I was impressed by what Mark Buchanan says about “Doubting” Thomas in his book Your God is Too Safe. Most people perceive the label “doubting,” when applied to Thomas, as a negative description, but Buchanan characterizes the disciple much differently. Buchanan takes his cues about the disciple’s true character from an earlier interaction with Jesus when Lazarus was sick in Bethany. Some of the disciples discouraged Jesus from going there because popular opinion was turning against him, but Thomas spoke up and said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:16
Buchanan says he believes Thomas wanted to see and touch so he’d have proof for what he thought might be so. He didn’t want a sentimental, sloppy or vague faith or one built on wishful thinking. He wanted a vibrant one that could stand the testing. He was, in all respects, a skeptic. A skeptic “looks at a matter closely, scrutinizes it, and takes great care to study it in minute detail.” A true skeptic is passionate about discovering the truth. What clinches for Buchanan Thomas’ honest inquiry is that Jesus tells him to look at his hands and touch the wounds. Thomas looks and when he sees, he does not have to touch. He immediately worships, crying out, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28
Today we live in a scientific world. It is a world of proofs and equations. It is not a sign of weakness to struggle with faith, in fact if there is no struggle there is most likely no substance behind a belief. “Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 I will grant you that even if some had all the evidence in the world, they would not be brought to faith. There are those who will always require something more because seeing is not believing. After Jesus showed Thomas his nail-pierced hands, He said, “Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27 Seeing was the catalyst, but Thomas had to make the transition to faith. I am thankful John recorded it all for my benefit.
I walk with Him this Wednesday because of the testimony of great forerunners of the faith,