Doubting Thomas and the Blessings of Belief

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 (NIV)

Who has not had their own experience with someone who just won’t believe unless things are right there in front of them?

United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch recounts one such story with a family member just before the announcement concerning his nomination was made public. Everything was kept secret from the press. Gorsuch and his wife were smuggled into the White House in secret and told not to tell anyone. But, it would be okay for his wife, who was born in Britain, to tell family members back home just before the announcement.

 

The President had offered me that historic spot [the Lincoln Bedroom] as an office for the day. Knowing that Louise was born and raised in England, he gave her the use of the bedroom across the hall typically reserved for Queen Elizabeth and once occupied by Winston Churchill. Finding a little time late in the day, Louise rang her father back in England to tell him the news, but before she could say anything my father-in-law interjected that he had stayed up to watch the announcement. He had seen all the reporting, and he was sure that a friend of mine was about to get the nod. Louise replied that she was pretty sure I was the pick. No, he countered, the other fellow was caught on television just now driving toward Washington, and the newscasters were sure it was him. My father-in-law wasn’t even convinced when Louise told him that we had slipped through the White House kitchen entrance and were now in the Lincoln Bedroom. Maybe the real nominee was in a room down the hall?

Neil Gorsuch with Jane Nitze and David Feder, A Republic, If You Can Keep It (New York: Crown Forum, 2019), 5.

 

Sometimes people will not believe something no matter what you tell them. And it’s true with the Gospels that the events on the cross happened almost 2,000 years ago. Even today we use the term “Doubting Thomas” for those who do not listen to testimony and facts.

But just as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”