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.” John 20:24-25
Thomas has gotten a pretty bad rap down through history for his unbelief. However, I prefer to think of him more as the Prover rather than the Doubter. He has come to be known as Doubting Thomas. It’s part of his name now, though never mentioned in scripture as such. It’s his new first name as if “Thomas” were his last. “Oh here comes Doubting. How are you doing, Doubting?” If he had been a real doubter, he would have continued to doubt even upon seeing Jesus. He just put his belief on a real, palpable level. I need to see it to believe it. I can’t take your word for it. I get it that you guys believe it was really Jesus risen from the dead, but I wasn’t there — I didn’t get to see what you saw — and until I do, I’m going to suspend my belief until I get the same chance you had, to see Him with my own eyes.
I think pretty much anyone would think this way, which makes me think we’ve been too hard on Thomas, and perhaps on anyone like him who insists on proof, either tangible or visceral. Actually, I would have a tendency to think a person like this would make a great follower of Christ. They are serious about their belief; they want proof. And you know what? I think they’ll get it just like Thomas got it. He got the chance he asked for; God is just that way.
“Put your finger here; see my hands,” said Jesus when He showed up at the same gathering a week later. This time Thomas was there, and Jesus went right to him. “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Jesus gave him what he was seeking — a chance to prove His resurrection with his own hands and his own eyes.
And I think we all know his response. From what we can tell, his hands were not necessary. It was enough to see with his own eyes and be there in the presence of the risen Christ. For Thomas, seeing was believing.
“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (vs. 28).
I think this whole story was recorded for our benefit, and it’s fitting that John recorded it, because the last couple verses of this chapter state the purpose of the whole Gospel of John: “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31)
“Because you have seen me, you have believed,” said Jesus, for our benefit. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (vs. 29)
Can provers still find proof today? I believe they can; in some tangible way, God will show Himself real to those who ask for it.