John 20:24-29 recounts some of the events following the resurrection of Jesus: One of the Twelve, Thomas, that is ‘the Twin’, was not with the rest when Jesus came. So the disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” He said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails on his hands, unless I put my finger into the place where the nails were, and my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later his disciples were again in the room, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them, saying, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here: see my hands; reach your hand here and put it into my side, be unbelieving no longer, but believe.” Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “Because you have seen me you have found faith. Happy are they who never saw me and yet have found faith.”
In these days of mega-churches, blogging, cable TV, and day-to-day witnessing, we may be bombarded with a myriad of messages. Which messages are valid, from the Heart of God? Which messages are invalid or false teachings? All of this can be confusing at times.
Thomas was told by the other disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. He did not believe them. He did not take their testimony at face value. Thomas required proof.
Proof. Not a bad concept. We may hear a message, and somehow it does not resonate with us (or does not resonate with us at the time). Before assimilating testimony into our belief system, I suggest seeking proof, just as Thomas did so boldly. Thomas had the testimony of his fellow disciples, yet he needed proof. He needed the testimony to pass a ‘truth test’.
False teaching can be dangerous to our relationship with God. Only too gladly would Satan like to watch as we are being lead astray, sometimes by well-intending clergy or friends.
I would say that “doubting Thomas” had the right idea. Look for proof before believing what you see, read, or hear. Meditate on any concept that is new to you before jumping in with your heart and soul at stake. After all, where’s the fire? Jesus exhibited patience with Thomas, and He will also have patience with us.
Jesus ended His dialogue with Thomas, “Happy are they who never saw me and yet have found faith.” That statement was for us to remember through the ages. We did not have an opportunity to see the risen Jesus. Yet, although we have never seen the physical nature of Jesus, our mind’s eye can see the in-dwelling Christ. He’s never far away.