"Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with Him.'"-- John 11:16
"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came & stood in the midst, & said to them, 'Peace be with you'... Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, 'We have seen the Lord.' So he said to them, 'Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, & put my finger in to the print of the nails, & put my hand into His side, I will not believe.' And after eight days His disciples were again inside, & Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, & stood in the midst, & said, 'Peace to you!' Then he said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, & look at my hands; & reach your hand here, & put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.' And Thomas answered & said to Him, 'My Lord & my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen & yet have believed.'" -- John 20:19,24-29
Oh, the power of Thomas' story. I am always amazed at how this plays out. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles hand-picked by Jesus Himself is on fire for the Lord. So much so that he is willing to die with Christ.
Thomas must have thought, from the time Christ picked him until Christ's death that he understood God & this Messiah. Perhaps he, like many, thought Christ was the political savior they'd been praying for. Maybe he thought Christ was going to bring justice to the earth and equality to the earth so that all could live in harmony together. Whatever he thought about Christ's purpose, I'll bet he was certain in his belief. He probably thought his knowledge of Jesus was both correct and unshakable.
And then, Christ died.Thomas may have thought, like many, that Christ was a political Messiah. Seemingly, His death left many unresolved issues. He died without bringing justice to the political world. He died without physically freeing the slaves. He died, seemingly, without fulfilling His purpose. Perhaps the same Thomas who wanted to die with Christ was now floundering, wondering, "Whom have I been following?" He was so out of touch that, when Christ, after rising from the dead, appeared to the disciples, Thomas wasn't even in attendance. He wasn't even there. He heard about it second-hand from the other disciples.
And then, Thomas asked for physical proof.Though he had walked with Jesus personally and seen Him perform so many signs and wonders that "even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" concerning these wonderful deeds, Thomas demanded physical proof for his belief to be realized.I am Thomas. I am the one who has been walking for several years with Christ and, every time there is a bump in the road or a wave in the sea, I want proof. I want to see Him. I want to know Him. I want to hold fast and believe. But, I can't see Him and I am discouraged. What is a Thomas in this world supposed to do?There is one way to see Christ clearly for who He is. The only way to form a correct view of the Lord is the Bible. That's it. Late last year I had my foundation rocked. I realized that, as I grew up in Sunday School & went to college student-led worship services & as I went to seminary & learned systematic theology, I have been taught incorrectly. I have had my view of Jesus shaped by people and it was done so woefully inaccurately.
When I realized that everything I had ever thought Jesus to be was wrong, I was shaken to the core. So much so that I demanded proof for me to believe. How can this be, I thought. How could everything I ever guessed about Jesus be wrong?
Therein lies the problem. I had been relying on people to tell me who He is and how He works. Even worse, I had been relying on my ability to guess what Jesus would think or what He would do. What I should have done is cling to the Bible and read it cover to cover. I should have been studying the Word daily to see just what Jesus teaches. But, I didn't and I had my faith shaken.
Once I gathered myself, I began reading the Bible again. I began reading theology again. I have come to see that I can't be in control of my life. I can't. The goal of the Christian is to totally abdicate the throne and allow One who is infinitely more qualified to lead take reign.
Now that I see where I've come from, my prayer for this year is to be able to say, without any reservation or dishonesty, "My Lord and my God!"