Skip to content

Thomas: Doubter or Role Model for Us?


John 20:24-31

The disciples of Jesus all had their own individual personalities, and these characteristics all come out in the Biblical record.Universally, the disciple Thomas has become known as a doubter – his name and his story has become legend – he is ‘Doubting Thomas’ – a pejorative description to this day, of anyone who has legitimate concerns about some concerning matter. Yet Thomas was not the only disciple who had periods of doubt. Mark 16:9-11 Luke 24:10-11 Thomas’s experience simply mirrored that of the rest of the disciples.  So let’s set aside thinking of ‘Doubting Thomas’ for a few minutes and ask, “What can we learn from Thomas’s examination of the wounds of Christ; his personal encounter with the risen Saviour?”


1 Grieving Thomas – Who Forsook the Comfort of Christ’s Presence24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. (Didymus just means that he was a twin).

For whatever reason, Thomas was absent from the meeting of the disciples, when Jesus came and met with them on that Lord’s Day. The bible doesn’t tell us where they were, but there is an interesting principle outlined here for us. In times of grief or times of trouble, or when we become disillusioned, or when we are filled with fear or confusion, MAKE SURE THAT YOU SEEK THE COMPANY OF GOD’S PEOPLE. Proverbs 8:34  Hebrews 10:25  When we find it hard, through sadness or disappointment to seek God’s face, come among the Lord’s people, to the place where the presence of God is a promised reality. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Bring your sorrow and your tears and your heartache with you to the place where the Lord’s people are gathered, and let us share one another’s burdens, as we are taught in Galatians 6:2.  BRING ALL YOUR BURDENS TO JESUS.

So Thomas was somewhere else, when the church was meeting. If he had been among the Lord’s people, he would have found the comforting presence of Christ in their midst.


2 Honest Thomas – Who Confessed His Doubt and Unbelief. 25 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.

I wonder how many people, faced with eleven enthusiastic contemporaries listening to their excited revelations about seeing Jesus, would simply had hidden our doubts and just gone along with the flow, just outwardly agree with what the others are saying, and keep our own serious doubts to ourselves. We call that PEER PRESSURE! But not Thomas. He  didn’t want a sham second-hand faith – he wanted to meet Jesus himself, just as the others had done. 

Now I challenge myself with this question, and I respectfully ask you to challenge yourself with it also. The question is, “Do I know the Saviour. Is my salvation real, or just built upon the testimonies of others?” Note:-

  1. A week later, Jesus knew the words of doubt that Thomas had spoken! God hears our every word, reads our thoughts, know all the intention of our hearts. Psalm 139:4  In fact the psalmist reminds us that the Lord know our words even before we speak them out! 
  2. It is not recorded that Thomas actually touched Christ’s wounds. He was invited to do so, but did he? And Thomas was invited to touch the wounds of Jesus, when earlier, Mary was asked NOT to touch him, John 20:16-17  The phrase ‘touch me’ in that passage could be translated ‘hold on to me’ or ‘cling to me’ Perhaps Mary was expressing a desire to hold on, to keep Christ with her here on earth, when he must ascend to be with his Father, so that we could ascend there also.
  3. Jesus showed Thomas his hands and his side. He didn’t show him his feet! We often speak about the five bleeding wounds of Christ, and the four rusty nails – Psalm 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. The piercing of the feet was through a nerve, and as the victim gasped for breath, he would try to push up with his feet to gasp in some air, – and that would send excruciating pain through that nerve – everything about crucifixion was horrific, painful, shameful, agony. 

Thomas, when faced with his doubt and unbelief, confessed it, and the Lord heard his confession, and dealt with it. Here’s another one of those lyricists, “Lord it is my chief complaint, that my love is weak and faint, yet I love thee and adore. Oh for grace to love thee more…


3 Decisive Thomas – When Confronted with the Evidence. V28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

When Thomas realised that there was overwhelming evidence that Christ was risen from the dead, that he was truly the promised Messiah, God’s Only Begotten Son, he did not hesitate, not for one minute. He made a public confession of faith. 

  • Note the immediacy of this, and note also its straightforward and unequivocal expression. He declared “MY LORD and MY GOD!” 
  • The present challenge. I know that there are many people who will say the Apostle’s Creed, and you will affirm that you believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, OUR Lord. But can and will you be prepared to stand before others, your family and friends and work colleagues, and boldly and unashamedly state – JESUS CHRIST IS MY LORD AND MY GOD like Thomas did?  Will you publicly confess that  Jesus is MY LORD?

And Jesus does not chastise Thomas, or reject him, – he accepts Thomas, because when a sinner comes to Christ he will never turn them away.


So we have traced Thomas’s journey of faith, from a man who was grieving, and missed the fellowship of saints, and the comforting presence of God, – to a man who was honest about his lack of real faith in Christ, to someone who heard and saw the hard evidence for himself, and when convinced by that evidence, no doubt with the help of the Holy Spirit, openly and eagerly and unambiguously declared that Jesus is his Lord. But the final words in this passage are for us. For you and me. V29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  How blessed we are to be saved by God’s grace, by faith in Christ alone. 

© Bob McEvoy

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: