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Why Did Thomas Struggle to Believe?

April 18, 2023

Why Did Thomas Struggle to Believe?

Why Did Thomas Struggle to Believe?

By Brooke Holt

“Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’” John 20:24-25

I have both admired and envied the gift of childlike faith. One of my sisters exemplified this faith, and I never understood it. My little sister loved church, loved to pray, and was the first to engage in conversation about the Lord. Meanwhile, I dreaded church services, never wanted to pray out loud, and found conversations about God rather dull. Faith was a journey for me. Even as a young child, it was not an easy process. I had so many questions and things that didn’t make sense.

My challenges make me appreciate Thomas. Poor Thomas. He has gotten a bad rap through the years. Often, you hear him referred to as “Doubting Thomas” because of the conversation from today’s passage. When Thomas heard the disciples talk about their time with Jesus, it didn’t make sense. How could this man who had been crucified on Friday be alive today and speaking with the disciples?

Jesus met Thomas right where he was: “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve but believe” (John 20:27). Once Thomas did see and feel, he believed. In fact, Thomas became one of the first to proclaim, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) Thomas responded with full faith, faith that empowered him to live the rest of his days as a disciple of Jesus.

One character trait of Thomas we rarely, if ever, hear commended is his honesty. He openly expressed his doubt and his need to see Jesus for himself. His doubts and questions were answered in the person of Jesus.

People come to faith in Jesus differently. Some, like my sister, come easily to believe that Jesus is Lord. Others take time. They must wrestle with the questions, doubts, fears, and unbelief. For faith to flourish and grow, the church needs to be a safe place to ask questions and to express doubts or unbelief. The Lord invites those questions as he longs to reveal himself in the way each person uniquely needs to see him, hear him, or experience him.

As you read this, do you identify more with my sister or me when it comes to your faith? Have you honestly brought your questions and doubts before the Lord? The Lord knows you completely. He understands your doubts even better than you do. He knows what you need, and he longs to meet you right where you are today so that he may equip you to believe and to live as his faithful disciple.


What do you need from the Lord today? Can you honestly share yourself with him today then wait, watch, and listen for how he wants to reveal himself to you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resource:

Draw Near

Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!


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