ON the first day of the week, in the evening, when the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas, who was called the Twin, one of the twelve disciples, 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 the mark of the nails in His hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”
A week later Jesus' disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it in My side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in His Name.
Christ is risen!
Apostle Thomas is popularly called "doubting" Thomas because he would not believe that Christ came back to life unless he put his finger into the Lord's wounds. In faith, just like in life in general, doubt can have negative connotations.
There are different types of doubt. There is skeptical doubt. And then there is questioning doubt. Here is a simple fact - it's absolutely ok to have doubt in our life, even doubt in faith. Doubt by default does not mean something negative.
But it is important to figure out what kind of doubt we have. A skeptical doubt will reject any reason or argument, say, for the existence of God, the truth about His resurrection, the salvation only in and through Christ, etc. In other words, skeptical doubt has no interest in finding the truth and the answers to the many questions we might have, even if facts point to it. A person with skeptical doubt has already made up his/her mind and has "found" the answers. But the doubt remains because unless and until we find (encounter) truth, we will always look for it.
Questioning doubt is open to the truth. It might take some time and evidence to convince this kind of doubt, but at the end of the day, a person with questioning doubt is more likely to be convinced by logic, facts, and truth.
Looking at Thomas now. He did not say that he refuses to believe that the Lord is resurrected. He did not abandon the other disciples. Notice, the other disciples believed because they had already seen the resurrected Lord. All Thomas was saying, "I want to see Him too, and I want to make sure He is not some sort of a ghost." Maybe he was more hands on than the others?
When all of Thomas' doubts are dispelled, he confesses Christ to be his Lord and his God. A very strong confession. In response Christ says that Thomas believed (like other disciples) because he's seen the resurrected Lord. But, He says, blessed (which means happy) are those who believe without seeing the Lord. And that is basically us today - we believe, we have faith, even if it is a weak faith, even it is a doubting faith, but we have it without having seen the Lord physically in front of us.
So, if you are convinced in your faith in the resurrected Lord, Who is our Savior and Redeemer, God bless you. Keep the faith, strengthen and confirm it with your thoughts, words, and actions.
If you have doubts, do not despair. Keep asking questions and looking for answers. But above all, be open and ready to receive answers. The Lord did say ask and it will be given, and knock and the doors will be opened. But He never specified how many times we should ask or how many time to knock. Keep asking and knocking and our Lord Jesus Christ will be with you.
Yours in the risen Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest