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Thomas


    A shudder ran through Thomas as he stood before the crowd of dark faces, so foreign and enigmatic to him. The love of Christ had led him to the exotic land of India–and faith was his banner and defense. Yet with tribal idols and deities within view, Thomas wondered if the people would listen to his testimony about the one true God. Like a battering ram, uncertainty pounded his heart. He steadied himself. Whatever happened, he was here to proclaim that the Messiah had come for the forgiveness of sins.

    "How can you be sure that the Resurrection was real?" An eager soul asked the question Thomas loved to answer. How he treasured expressing his certainty that Christ had risen from the dead!

    Thomas had been like them, unable to believe that a man could live again after the cruelty of a crucifixion. He understood the questions that rose within a person’s heart, especially when reality and hope clashed–when doubt assailed faith.

    Thomas recalled the piercingly wonderful confidence of life that Jesus offered and how that hope was brutally torn from him. The terror of that night was unforgettable. The soldiers advanced into Gethsemane and seized the Savior to be tried and crucified. The horrifying torture that Jesus had to endure wrenched Thomas’s spirit. Like an army besieging enemy territory, the questions attacked his heart, desolating it. He played the scene over again in his mind, condemning himself for not doing more to prevent Jesus’ suffering.

    How could Thomas be sure that the Resurrection was real after such tragedy? Because Jesus had promised never to leave. (John 14:18) No tomb could hold Him–no gravestone could barricade the power of the living God. Three days after His death, the Savior arose and appeared to His followers. However, Thomas was not among them to witness it. He was away from them, lost in his grief and, perhaps, pondering his future.

    When the other disciples reported that they had seen the risen Christ, the battle between doubt and faith mushroomed within Thomas. He could not consider the possibility: "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).

    His skepticism was not due to sin, but to sorrow. The reality of Christ’s death on the cross was more than he could bear, for in Christ lay all Thomas’s hope. It was as if the war was lost forever and hope was a dying hostage behind the immense gray stone which covered Jesus’ grave.

    Yet Jesus appeared again and invited Thomas to reach out his hand to touch the wounds in His hands and side and to see that hope is reality. Thomas’s faith, his certainty, was resurrected.

    The name Thomas is the Hebrew equivalent for the Greek Didymus, which means "twin." Thomas’s testimony serves as a reminder of the similarities between doubt and faith–both originate from the same place: a confrontation with the unknown. Doubt concedes defeat, while faith claims the victory.

    Hope became Thomas’s reality. The Resurrection renewed his confidence in God and motivated him to spend the rest of his life proclaiming the certainty of the risen Christ. Tradition holds that Thomas spread the Gospel to Parthia and India and helped dispel other’s disbelief about the Resurrection.

    Perhaps you are torn between the twin emotions of doubt and faith. Everyone experiences events which rend the heart and make the future appear dismal. When the wounds are great, conditions are lonely, and solutions are hard to come by, doubt can gain a foothold in the battle for your heart. Yet hope is not based on that which is seen, it is based on the amazing power and love of Jesus Christ. The victory of faith comes in your choosing it. The war has been won when you cling to the promise of God’s amazing power working in your life.

    If uncertainties have smothered your confidence in the Lord, remember His power that is evident in the empty tomb. The Crucifixion was not the end of the story and neither is the trial you are facing. Hope can be your reality. Choose the path of faith and declare that triumph is just ahead. Allow His resurrection to strengthen your hope, renew your certainty, and be your greatest victory.