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 it." John 20:25
The man had come to a detour. The black-on-yellow sign said, “DETOUR, ROAD UNDER REPAIR.” Two months before, the man would have taken the detour. But now he was sitting behind the wheel of a brand new four-wheel-drive, high road clearance, sports utility vehicle. To him the sign wasn’t a detour—it was a challenge. He maneuvered past the sign saying, “Let’s see what this thing can do.” A washboard road, no problem; slippery gravel, no sweat. After about 23 miles, he came to the end of the road. It stopped at a ravine that dropped 40 feet down and was 30 feet across. The man turned around. Approaching the original DETOUR sign he noticed yet another sign hand painted on the back of the first. It read, “WELCOME BACK, DOUBTING THOMAS.”
“Doubting Thomas” refers to one of Jesus’ disciples who questioned the Savior’s resurrection. His doubting was understandable. Put yourself in Thomas' shoes. Suppose you go to a friend's burial. What would you say if, later that week, somebody came up to you and said, “I met our dead friend at Wal-Mart today, and he looks fantastic!”?
You wouldn't believe it, just as you don't believe that Elvis is alive and working in a gas station in Kalamazoo. You don't believe such stories and neither did Thomas. People don’t rise from the dead. You know it. I know it. That’s why Thomas was pretty confident when he said, “If I'm going to believe, this is what it will take. I need to see Jesus' nail holes. I need to touch His side.”
I think Thomas’ challenge was reasonable. Apparently, Jesus did, too. No, I’m not saying that Jesus approves of unbelief and doubt. I am saying our Savior understands that we sinful humans are—all of us—weak, wondering doubters. It was because we are sinners that He came into this world to save us. It is because we are doubters that He came to Thomas and said, ‘See, look, touch, believe.’ Thomas, confronted with overwhelming evidence of God’s grace and the Savior’s redemption, believed. I pray that you, by the Spirit’s power, will believe, too.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on April 18, 2004
THE PRAYER: Risen Lord, help me conquer my doubts and moments of unbelief. I don't want to be a "Doubting Thomas". Fill me with the Spirit's power, so that I may believe. Thank you for the sacrifice You made for my sins. In Jesus' Name. Amen.