John 20:24-28Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.” 26 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!” 27 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.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
The events leading to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus were now history. The resurrected Lord had made an appearance to Mary Magdalene, and in turn she notified the disciples, "I have seen the Lord!"
We can imagine the excitement in her voice when she made the news known to the followers of Jesus, sharing the good word that Jesus had risen. That evening when the disciples were together, Jesus stood among them and even talked to them. "Peace be with you!" He showed them his hands and side, and the Bible says they were overjoyed at seeing the Lord.
Verse 24 in the above passage informs us that Thomas, one of the Twelve, wasn't present when Jesus made himself known to the disciples. We aren't told why Thomas was absent, but we are told when the disciples informed him they had seen Jesus, Thomas showed doubt, saying he would need to see the proof of the nail marks in his hand, and even touch those places where the nails were and where his side was cut.
About a week later, Thomas did just that. The disciples were assembled again and Thomas was with them. Although their doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their presence again. He spoke to Thomas and instructed him to reach out and touch the wounds for himself, and to stop doubting and believe.
We still have skeptics today, even among us. We have moments of doubt and unbelief. But what was it that caused Thomas to doubt? He had witnessed the same things as the others, yet he still had trouble believing when they told him the Lord was alive.
Perhaps the reason can be traced to his absence when the disciples first saw the risen Jesus. There may be something to this. When we separate ourselves from other believers, do we have moments of doubt and unbelief? Is that when we have trouble maintaining our faith?
It happened to Thomas, and it happens to us the same way. Remember, Jesus is telling us, "Stop doubting and believe."