We see a glimpse of some of our own weaknesses in many of the biblical characters. That’s a good thing. Their imperfections offer to the weaving and stumbling traveler a bit of encouragement. If God saw potential in them, maybe he’ll stick by our side until we gain our spiritual footing.
It’s been said that God doesn’t call the gifted but that He gifts the called. It must be so. Simon Peter was impulsive. He jumped out of a boat to have a go at walking on water. He grabbed a sword and sliced the ear off a servant of one of the men who came to arrest Jesus. James and John earned the moniker “Sons of Thunder” by once begging Jesus for permission to nuke a city full of Samaritans. Judas was an embezzler and in a moment of weakness betrayed Jesus. Matthew had extorted people in his former position as a tax collector. Mary Magdalene had been a lady of ill repute and full of evil spirits. Our spiritual ancestors were an exotic array of ne’er-do-wells.
And then there’s Thomas. We equated him yesterday to the notoriously skeptical and pessimistic Puddleglum from CS Lewis’ writings. He was most definitely that. When Jesus decided to return to Jerusalem after having been chased from that city, it was Thomas who said, “Well hey, let’s all go back and die!” And when it came to the resurrection, Thomas earned for himself a phrase that is with us yet today; namely, “Doubting Thomas.” If you’ve ever been called one of those now you know from whence it came. Let’s pick up the entire thread: Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:24-29
Thomas’ doubts were erased as he ran his fingers over the scars on Jesus’ side and hands. Jesus was not all that impressed. But here’s something that should make us smile. Because Thomas doubted, Jesus called those of who have never seen his face or touched his side – blessed. And we have Doubting Thomas to thank for that.