I've written on here before about how much I identify with "Doubting Thomas", even though, there's not too much written about him. What we know is that he was a follower of Jesus, and he asked a lot of questions. When Jesus died, the disciples didn't really know what to do with themselves. Their world was falling apart. The person they had pinned all their hopes on had just died a gruesome, humiliating death. A few of the disciples were in disgrace, having abandoned and even denied Jesus in the hour He needed them most. I honestly don't know what I would have done if I were a disciple at this time. The little mustard seed of faith in my heart is so small and frail, I fear it would have faltered along with the rest of his crew.
So when the women come running to report that the tomb was empty, that Jesus was indeed alive, word among the followers spreads fast. John 20 says that soon after Jesus appeared to Mary in the tomb, he also appeared to the disciples who were hunkered down in a locked room, for fear of the Jews. The disciples rejoiced at the return of their Lord. But Thomas wasn't there to see it. And when he was told about the event he said he would never believe until he put his own fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands. A week later Jesus appears the group again, this time with Thomas present. He immediately turns to Thomas and says, "Here, put your fingers in my hands, place your hand in my side. Do not disbelieve but believe." Thomas is overcome and exclaims, "My Lord and my God!"
I always used to take comfort in the fact that Jesus accommodated Thomas' need for verification and his questions. Jesus did indeed accommodate those for him. But as my own questions began to get more complex and seemingly more urgent, I couldn't help but feel left out. "Jesus, why did you accommodate Thomas and not me?". I found it disheartening and eventually stopped hoping for answers. A while ago I was sharing this with my friend Sarah Coker and she suggested that maybe the only thing Thomas (and I) needed to know without question or doubt was that Jesus died for us. "Put your fingers in my hands, see what I did for you? I never ever want you to doubt this, or question this." The suggestion was like a light bulb that finally went on in my head. In all the other stories in the New Testament, Jesus seems pretty content to keep people guessing, to get them to search for deeper meanings. He hardly ever said anything straight up. He was always telling stories, always answering questions with more questions. But this- this question required all doubts to be put to rest. It was important to him that we know without wavering, how far His love went for us- the love that took Him all the way to the cross.