Thursday, February 4th, 2016
The Enemy's Game (Part 95)
Star Players: Thomas*
The other disciples were saying to him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see in His Hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His Side, I will not believe.'
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My Hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My Side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'
John 20:25-28 (NASB)
We can smirk at Thomas as a doubter, believing our faith is superior. But if we do, we're smugly self-deceived. The other disciples suffered doubts, too, even beyond their Lord's resurrection.** Like marathon runners, they pushed through them. They followed their team's Captain everywhere: around blind corners and up dark alleys; inside rough places and through high waters. Of the twelve, only Judas left the field.
Consider the faithfulness of Thomas:
1) Among the twelve disciples of Jesus (excluding Judas who betrayed the Lord), I think Thomas is portrayed unfairly. His degrading nickname is not deserved.
2) Thomas is a man of love and courage. We first meet him individually when the much-loved Lazarus had just died. Jesus announced it was time to see him.
3) Since traveling there would be dangerous, His disciples tried to discourage Him. Except for Thomas, who vowed his support unto death, wherever His Lord would go.
4) Later, when Jesus said He must go home to prepare a place for His disciples, Thomas asked how, and his King responded: 'I am the Way and the Truth and the Life' (John 14:6).
5) After his friends witnessed the risen Christ (without Thomas who couldn't believe them), Jesus came to him in love--not rebuke. The sincere one said, 'My Lord and my God' (John 20:28).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What lessons can you learn from Thomas? Maybe to refute ugly nicknames. Maybe not to measure someone's faith, as if you're qualified for that job. Maybe doubts are to be expected, as everyone but Jesus has them. Maybe the sincere heart of Thomas allowed him to say what others hid. Maybe faith is working through your doubts, which Thomas did quite beautifully. Maybe his words to the risen King are the Gospel's most loving tribute.
To Be Continued...
* Series of opinions on Thomas in Bible Hub: http://biblehub.com/topical/t/thomas.htm
* Short article: The Apostle Known as Doubting Thomas, http://christianity.about.com/od/newtestamentpeople/a/Apostle-Thomas.htm
* Short article: How can I avoid being a doubting Thomas? http://www.gotquestions.org/doubting-Thomas.html
** See Luke 24, when all of the apostles doubted the ladies' resurrection story. See also the Road to Emmaus encounter. Therein, Thomas isn't the only doubter: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+24&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Enemy's Game series.