Overcoming Doubt by Faith
Read John 20:24-29, Matthew 28:16-17
“Blessed are they who did not see and yet believed.”
Thomas became the epitome of doubt. Throughout history, Thomas became known as “doubting Thomas,” a dubious title gained because Thomas wanted empirical evidence of the resurrection. It was not enough that his trusted friends were affirming the resurrection; Thomas wanted proof. However, he was not alone, for, in Matthew 28:16-17, we find that even after the resurrection and the appearance of Christ, there were still some who were struggling with doubt. In Luke 24:16, we find that two disciples on the road with Emmaus failed to recognize Jesus when he was walking with them. Why did they struggle when they had the visible presence of Christ? How could those who saw the resurrected Christ still struggle to accept that he was the God himself and the Messianic king? The answer lies in Christ’s response to Thomas.
After Thomas sees for himself the reality of the resurrection, then he acknowledges that Christ is not only God, but he is the God of Israel. However, in response to Thomas’ confession, Christ then points us to the true nature of faith. Faith ultimately is not grounded in empirical evidence, for genuine faith is ultimately not an intellectual problem. After telling Thomas to touch the nail prints and feel the wound in his side, he tells Thomas, “do not be unbelieving, but believing.” The verbs are imperatives, “Stop unbelieving and believe.” In other words, Christ is challenging Thomas to become a genuine believer in him. While Thomas was a loyal disciple of Christ, but he was not a believer in Christ in relationship to accepting Christ as his savior. In other words, this is the moment of truth for Thomas. Is he going to accept Christ as his savior and be a genuine believer? Christ is pointing out to Thomas that the real issue of his doubts is not intellectual but spiritual. It is ultimately an issue of faith. This is what Christ goes on to point out in verse 29, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” In other words, the faithful follower of Christ simply accepts by faith the message and person of Christ. Genuine faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It is the surrender of ourselves to Christ without having our doubts answered.
Doubts are not a hindrance to faith but a nullifier of faith. It is to seek justification for our rejection of Christ. Faith is to simply trust in God and accept his word as true. However, this faith is not blind faith, which is contrary to all reason. It is confirmed by the testimony of Scripture and the resurrection of Christ. The way to deal with doubts is to accept by faith that what the Bible says is true and surrender our lives to the living God. It is trusting in God despite the questions.
The essence of faith then is simple, childlike trust leading to the surrender to God. It is to affirm what we learned in Sunday School, “God said it, and I believe it, and that settles it for me.” Instead of waiting for all your questions to be answered, simply trust in God. He may never answer all your questions, but it no longer matters when you trust in him.