I feel bad for the apostle Thomas. He gets a bad rap. One instance of doubt and he is forever known as “Doubting Thomas,” as if he was just this hardened skeptic. Other apostles do not get named for their faults: Peter was known to be a coward at times, but no one calls him “Petrified Peter.” What makes it even worse is that John puts Thomas’ story where he does to act as an example of faith, not to beat up on Thomas. In fact, Thomas makes one of the clearest and boldest confessions of faith found anywhere in the Bible.
So what was it that overcame Thomas’ doubts? It was not just the fact of Christ’s resurrection that changed Thomas forever: it was feeling the wounds of Christ’s resurrection.
Thomas would go on to give his life for Christ, to take wounds into his own body for Jesus’ sake. He would give everything for Jesus because Jesus had given everything for him. And when he called out to God to deliver him from those trying to kill him, and Jesus did not answer, Thomas would not doubt him again, because he had seen the wounds of Jesus.
Do you ever wonder why Jesus’ resurrected body has wounds? The Father certainly could have healed them. But they remain because Jesus’ wounds are always supposed to be in front of us, reminding us of his steadfast loyalty and love.
Jesus’ wounds show me that while brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, neighbors and friends may fail me, Jesus never will. They show me that even though my dreams may crumble, Jesus is the rock who will never falter. They show me that though I may not understand everything God is doing in the world, I can trust him.
Have you seen and felt the wounds of Jesus for you? Thomas did not respond by saying, “Jesus is Lord!” He said instead, “My Lord and My God!” When Jesus’ wounds become more than a historical fact, but a personal reality, then you be able to trust him through your doubts.
Others in your life may have let you down. You may have been used or abused by them. But Jesus will never do that. He was used and abused in your place. And if he was willing to endure torture for you to save you, you can be sure that he will never abandon you.
So when your days are dark, hold onto his nail-scarred hands. Press into his wounds. They are there to remind you that sometimes the answer to questions beyond your comprehension is a love too wonderful for words.