Jesus responds with grace and compassion.
Experiencing doubts in one’s faith journey can seem lonely. The one having doubts may feel he or she is the only one having questions. However, approximately 2/3 of Christians experience doubts at some point. And, this is not a new experience in the 21st Century. It has been occurring since the 1st Century; Jesus’ first followers had doubts.
The Bible records John the Baptist experiencing doubts. On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, many of his disciples had doubts, and Jesus responded with grace and compassion.
He responded the same way to Thomas, who can be classified as the most famous of doubters. John 20:24-29 tells us Thomas was not present the first time Jesus appears to the disciples, and when they report the news to him, Thomas just cannot wrap his mind around it.
Verse 25 says, “But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail scars in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
Thomas is like most Christians. He experienced a season of doubt, and Jesus responded with grace and compassion.
John’s Gospel goes on in verse 26: “A week later the disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here. See my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”
It is as if Jesus was in the room a week earlier when Thomas expressed his doubt, and Jesus responds compassionately and graciously.
The final statement Jesus makes to Thomas in this moment is, “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:26). The IVP Commentary Series states another way to think of Jesus’ words is, “Stop becoming unbelieving and become believing again.” Our Christian life is a journey of faith and seasons of doubt come, but when they do, Jesus responds with compassion and grace.
If you are going through a season of doubt, you are not alone. Many Christians have asked questions and sought answers. Most respondents stated their faith was stronger after going through a season of doubt.
The Lord knows seasons of doubt come in life, and he responds with grace and compassion. Challenge your doubts by asking questions and seeking answers.