These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.John 11:11-16
Doubting Thomas, what an unfortunate name. You could call him a skeptic but it’s still the same! Thomas tended to see and sometimes expect the worst situations or outcomes.
We know that Thomas is called Dydimus which means he was a twin. There is nothing mentioned of his brother. This shows clear proof that the covenant salvation principle of families promoted by some is pure heresy. We are not saved because we come from “good stock.” Save that terminology for cattle and other livestock!
We see Thomas’ attitude rear its ugly head when Jesus leads the disciples on a trip to raise Lazarus from the dead. Everyone knew that the closer they got to Jerusalem the more dangerous it was. The unbelieving Jews sought every occasion to kill Jesus. However, Thomas’ reaction goes far beyond a concern for Jesus.
They had witnessed many wondrous miracles showing Jesus was God and had power over His enemies. Jesus had just told them that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead! However, Thomas’ doubt lingered in his mind, possibly in the minds of the others as well, challenging their faith. He could not get past the possibility of Jesus dying as well as himself. He saw that as the final destiny for them all. This declaration shows that he clearly did not comprehend the power of Jesus.
The other, more infamous, example includes a rebuke by the Savior.
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.John 20:24-29
Here, Thomas declares that he must see Jesus with his own eyes or he will never believe that He is raised from the dead. He doubts the possibility and the testimony of other faithful witnesses.
Remember, these examples of the imperfections of the Apostles are recorded for our learning. We may easily find fault in them, but the same faults often lie within each of us as well. Doubt did not prevent Jesus from raising Lazarus or Himself from the dead. It did, however, rob Thomas of joy and fellowship with Christ during parts of these events.
Rather than being quick to see the worst in every situation, we should be patient and trust the Lord. If we are, we might just experience the joy of watching Him work!