July 3, 2015 Friday: St. Thomas the Apostle
Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:25)
The character of Thomas stands out clearly before us.
(1) He made one mistake. He withdrew from the Christian fellowship. He sought loneliness rather than togetherness. And because he was not there with his fellow Christians, he missed the first coming of Jesus. We miss a great deal when we separate ourselves from the Christian fellowship and try to be alone. Things can happen to us within the fellowship of Christ’s Church which will not happen when we are alone. When sorrow comes and sadness envelops us, we often tend to shut ourselves up and refuse to meet people. That is the very time when, in spite of our sorrow, we should seek the fellowship of Christ’s people, for it is there that we are likeliest of all to meet him face to face.
(2) But Thomas had two great virtues. He absolutely refused to say that he understood what he did not understand, or that he believed what he did not believe. There is an uncompromising honesty about him. He would never still his doubts by pretending that they did not exist. He was not the kind of man who would rattle off a creed without understanding what it was all about. Thomas had to be sure – and he was quite right. In In Memoriam, Tennyson wrote: There lives more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds. There is more ultimate faith in people who insist on being sure than in those who glibly repeat things which they have never thought out, and which they may not really believe. It is doubt like that which in the end arrives at certainty.
(3) Thomas’ other great virtue was that when he was sure, he went the whole way. ‘My Lord and my God!’ said he. There was no half-way house about Thomas. He was not airing his doubts just for the sake of mental acrobatics; he doubted in order to become sure; and when he did, his surrender to certainty was complete. And when people fight their way through their doubts to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord, they have attained to a certainty that those who unthinkingly accept things can never reach.
There is something very lovable and very admirable about Thomas. Faith was never an easy thing for him; obedience never came readily to him. He was the man who had to be sure; he was the man who had to count the cost. But once he was sure, and once he had counted the cost, he was the man who went to the ultimate limit of faith and obedience. A faith like Thomas’ is better than any glib declaration; and an obedience like his is better than an easy acquiescence which agrees to do a thing without counting the cost and then goes back upon its word.
The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of John