Speculation of Thomas’ faith has run rampant:
- He didn’t believe Jesus could be raised from the dead.
- He didn’t have faith in God.
- He was a coward and didn’t want to seem foolish.
- Blah, blah blah.
If Thomas was a coward, if he didn’t have faith in Jesus, and if he didn’t believe strongly then why was he the one that was ready to die with Jesus? Some believe he was being sarcastic but, could he have meant it?
I think we are too quick to ascribe Thomas a coward. Take a look at the heroic things we talk about:
- Peter had great faith to walk on the water. But it came with a confirmation first, he didn’t just step out.
- Yes, Gideon led 300 soldiers into battle against thousands. But before that, he fleeced the Lord twice.
- Before David fought Goliath, he asked permission and tried on some armor.
Think about yourself and you’ve probably never done any great deed for God without a little trepidation first either.
Thomas exposed one of the great things about God that the church has always enjoyed:
- He allows you to feel Him
- He doesn’t hide His scars.
You see Thomas said he wasn’t going to believe the disciples’ words until he saw the wounds and felt them. When Jesus appeared, he called out Thomas specifically and allowed him to see and feel. But then Jesus says that those who believe without seeing are blessed. Jesus did not say those that believe without feeling are blessed.
Could Jesus had pointed out that one sense on purpose?
You see, we don’t see Him today. Jesus doesn’t appear personally. At least, He’s never appeared to me. I don’t know what He looks like. I don’t know what color His eyes are or what the tone of His voice is. I can’t tell you what He smells like.
But I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can feel Him. Almost every single time I try, Jesus allows me to feel Him.
You see, a lot of people go to church two or three times a week to a plain, boring, traditional service. They go through all kinds of customs and rituals. They leave and go home but they never felt Him.
Perhaps the telling mark of most of those customs and rituals are found in the inventions of man and not in the Word of God.
Think about it for a minute; God is all-powerful, the creator of all things, all emotions, all colors, all adrenaline, and, maybe most powerful, love. Love is a very powerful emotion. It’s one you can feel on the inside. Now, if God created so many powerful, amazing things, don’t you think His Spirit living in us would have an effect? Don’t you think you should feel something?
Traditionalists are pointing out right now that we don’t go off of feelings but off of His Word alone. You’re right. If the feelings are all gone and never come again, His Word is enough to keep me believing.
But my question is, why does God allow us to feel Him at all? Could it be He wants us to?
The same Jesus that says, “What’s it to you!” to one disciple could have easily said, “Thomas, you have such little faith, you should be ashamed.” But, He didn’t.
Jesus came into a room filled with disciples and said, “Where is Thomas?” As Thomas steps out from the crowd Jesus basically says, “come touch me.” Thomas’ response to the entire scene was to proclaim Jesus his Lord and his God.
Perhaps that is the exact same thing God desires from His church. Maybe He desires a people that aren’t satisfied with the testimonies of others. Maybe Jesus is looking for another man, or woman, that won’t just take other’s word for it.
He’s looking for someone that isn’t satisfied with hearing about the great presence of God, but wants to feel it for themselves. Someone that isn’t satisfied hearing how God moved mightily somewhere else, for someone else, but wants God to move mightily where they are.
I wonder what mighty works could be done through a minister that gets a little of Thomas’ attitude. Who’s prayers turn from the mundane to, “God, I’ve got to touch you.”
After all, isn’t that the difference between the sinner that sits on the pew and observes, or sees, the move of God in the service, and the sinner that is moved to the altar? Isn’t that the difference between a fervent prayer and just a prayer?
Isn’t the desire to actually touch Him what motivates us to many times to push beyond the mundane and normal?
Maybe the next time you decide to preach about the shortcoming of Thomas you would instead preach about the attitude of Thomas. Try the Lord and see. Taste and see. Touch and see.
The other disciples might have been looking down on Thomas for his stance. But Jesus didn’t invite anyone else to feel the scars and wounds. Jesus didn’t invite any of the others to come and touch Him.
If it’s up to me, I want to be one of the ones that Jesus calls out and allows me to touch Him.