"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."
This article is going to focus on an issue we ALL deal with in life, more specifically our Christian life...doubt. John 20:24-29 focuses on repairing Thomas' doubt or faithlessness in the resurrection of Jesus. Though Satan was defeated at the cross by Jesus, he was still working in the hearts of men by causing Thomas to doubt his Saviour's resurrection. Look at verse 25 to see how deep his doubt ran:
"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."
Thomas wanted to fulfill the old saying "Seeing is believing." But with our Lord, God and Saviour, NOT seeing is believing. Look at the last 4 words Thomas spoke, "I will not believe." The word doubt means to have an undecided state of mind, but Thomas pushed it just a little further with those last 4 words.
Now that Thomas has seen the Lord with his own two eyes, his faith is reassembled and fully strengthened look at what he says, "My Lord and my God." That is awesome! Though Thomas had now seen the Lord Jesus, check out what Jesus says to him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
His faith was restored because he saw Jesus. We who rely on faith without seeing Jesus will see him when we enter heaven for eternity!
Next we will look at Joseph, the legal but NOT physical father of Jesus. God of course was Jesus Father! Mary and Joseph were legally betrothed or engaged to each other when she was found to be pregnant with a child, her first. Joseph was a just man and did not want to make her a public example and decided to divorce her (Jewish betrothal had to be legally broken).
Therefore he doubted having any future with her or that he might be a part of God's plan for his life. Here is when God stepped in and sent an angel to visit Joseph. Here is their exchange:
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, FEAR NOT to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 1:20)
Notice the angel's words there in that verse, "fear not." This shows that Joseph was fearful, doubting. But the Lord reassured him that it would be okay to go ahead and take Mary as his wife. He needed not to fear anything from friends or the public, for God was with him. We all experience doubt, fear, unbelief. We doubt things and people in our lives and even God sometimes. Oh I'm sure you would not admit it at first but in your mind, Satan is just having a field day.
Though we go through these things, God gives us his Word to build us up and encourage us through times of doubt and fear. Here is yet another example of doubting God's Word. In Luke 1:5-22 we are told about Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, when he was performing his duty of burning incense inside the temple of the Lord. An angel of the Lord then appears before him beside the altar and foretells the birth of John. After telling Zechariah about John's greatness and the great things he would do, he replies to the angel thusly, "Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years."
The angel sent from God turns out to be none other than Gabriel where in verse 20 he says this to the doubting Zechariah, "And behold, thou shalt be dumb, (mute) and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, BECAUSE THOU BELIEVEST NOT MY WORDS, which shall be fulfilled in their season."
God's muting of Zechariah was done merely to discipline and chasten him. God disciplining his children is done not to harm us, but to show us where we have lost our faith in him and correct us so that we WILL trust in his word and his purpose for us. Remember that God does love you and wants only the best for you. That's why people who live a life away from God, rejecting him, doing things according to their own desires are given over to their desires and end up suffering through a life that could have been restored through salvation in Jesus Christ.
Peter suffered through his doubt in the prophecy that Jesus gave of his denial of our Lord until it was realized on the night Jesus was ushered about between Pilate and the chief priests. Satan had been able to sift Peter like Jesus said the Devil had desired to do in Luke 22:31. In fact Peter doubted and even questioned Jesus on numerous occasions. This time though Peter's denial that he even knew Jesus was where his faith failed him and he then ran away weeping bitterly (Luke 22:62).
It wasn't until the resurrection and the third appearance of Jesus to the Apostles that Peter was restored or turned again to the Lord and was reaffirmed by Jesus three times, just like Peter had denied him three times.
The lesson to be learned here about doubt and even fear, which can run hand in hand at times, is that they are never permanently in the life of a born again believer. Rest in Jesus my fellow believers, rely on his strength and trust in him in everything you do. This is an easy thing for me to say I know, given that we each go through our own issues in life. But I pray that you WILL rely on Christ to save you through whatever is going on in your life. And just remember that it is good while we live to suffer for Christ, we look forward to the time when we arrive in heaven to be with him and all of the other believers who have been in his presence for the last 1,975 years.