Lots of preachers talked about someone called “Doubting Thomas” this past Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter. Thomas has a great legacy. His exclamation upon meeting the resurrected Jesus is some of the best theological proclamation in all of the church’s history: My Lord and my God! But the most well-known part of his legacy is that he doubted.
According to John 20:24-29, all of the disciples had seen the resurrected Jesus, but Thomas was not with them. When they told him what they had seen, he told them he wanted to see for himself.
Thomas only wanted the same evidence all the other disciples had seen. He only wanted the same experience they had all had. Why do we call that “doubting”?
I’m not sure that asking to examine the evidence others have seen constitutes doubt. But let’s assume it does and see what else the text shows.
According to Luke 24:1-12, “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them” told the apostles that Jesus was alive and they had seen him. But Peter did not believe it. He ran to the tomb to see for himself. He wanted to see the same evidence they had all seen. He wanted to have the same experience they had all had. Why don’t we call that “doubting”?
According to Mark 16:9-11, after his resurrection, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene. When she told the others that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, “they would not believe it.” Why don’t we call that “doubting”?
Peter disbelieved the woman, Mary Magdalene. The apostles disbelieved the women, all of them, who had seen Jesus.
Thomas doubted the men. His legacy is “the doubter.”
Apparently, doubting men is worse than doubting women.
Apparently, the testimony of men is greater than the testimony of women.
Apparently, Jesus disagreed, and chose women to be his first resurrection witnesses. That we doubt women is a shame of the church. That we shame those who doubt men, but do not shame those who doubt women, is a shame of the church.
(all Bible quotes came from the New Revised Standard Version)