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Campaign to Change the Term "Doubting Thomas"

The phrase “doubting Thomas” that is still used today, came from the apostle Thomas, who doubted that Christ had risen from the dead. The other apostles said they had seen the risen Christ and Thomas’ response is the inspiration behind the term, ”doubting Thomas”:

"Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."

Thomas’ various words are recorded four times in Scripture. As I considered his words today, I had the thought, he is not “doubting Thomas”, he is “logical Thomas”.

Consider that he had lived with and been taught by the Son of God for 3 years. He considered Jesus his Lord. When Jesus announced that he was going to Judea, the disciples said, “why would you go to Judea, the Jew are seeking to kill You.” In other words, if you go to Judea, they will kill you.

All the disciples were convinced of this, and Thomas says:

"Let us also go, that we may die with him."

If every one of the disciples really believed that Jesus was who He said He was, and their Lord was going to go to Judea and be killed, wouldn’t it be logical that they would want to die with Him? After all, we see in war that soldiers will follow their leaders in to sure death, not because they are required to or expected to (although both are true) – they do so because of the love and unity for the group, and the devotion to their leader. Why would we think that the disciples of the King of kings would have any less “valor”. It is logical that they would go and die with Him.

The second time we hear from Thomas is when Jesus is trying to explain to them that He will be killed, He is going back to Heaven, and, although they cannot follow now, they will follow later. Jesus tells them, “you know the Way”. They did not fully grasp what He was saying, and they certainly didn’t want to be apart from their Lord. So instead of staying in the state of confusion and uncertainty, Thomas logically says:

"Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"

The next time we hear from Thomas it is the sentence that made the term “doubting Tomas” famous. But, let’s think it through. Jesus was His Lord, however, not all things Jesus told them were understood clearly. We can look at the story in hind-sight and wonder why they were so dense, but nothing like what Jesus was telling them had ever happened before, it was totally illogical. In addition, who was leading the charge to tell Thomas they had seen the risen Christ? Peter! Up to this point, does Peter have a history of saying wild things? Of course he does, Peter has a well-documented history of saying and doing things before he thinks them through. Peter is the one who said, “you will not wash my feet Lord” – oh wait, “not just my feet then Lord, but my head and hands too”. It is Peter who asked to be called out on to the sea with Jesus and then realized where he was and wound up doubting and said, “help me Lord”. It is Peter that said, “although others abandon You, I will die with You, Lord” – and we know he denied knowing Jesus three times.

So, we should probably extend some grace to Thomas if Peter charged into the room and said, “we have seen the risen Christ!”. Logical Thomas must have thought, “ok, another one of Peter’s crazy statements” – to which he says:

"Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."

Jesus, being God, knew what Thomas said. Eight days later Jesus appears in the upper room, walks straight over to Thomas, shows Him His hands, and side. Thomas logically concludes, “wait, He was dead, I know He was dead on that cross, now He is alive. He must be who He said He was all along, He really is God, not only is He my Lord, but He is my God!” – and He says:

"My Lord and my God!"


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