In the Gospel this Sunday we read the familiar story of “Doubting Thomas.” How Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room when Thomas was not with them. How, upon hearing the disciples recount had they had seen the Lord, Thomas did not believe them. How he demanded visible proof, to see the Risen Lord and to touch His wounds.
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)
Despite the reputation Thomas has as a doubter, he was certainly not the only one to doubt. Throughout Jesus’ life, they all took turns doubting.
When the crowds of 5,000 were gathered and grew hungry the disciples try to urge Jesus to send them off for food. But Jesus instead replies “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” (Mt. 14:16-17) They did not immediately believe that simply because Jesus said He would feed them, it would happen. They doubted.
Later that evening out on the boat, Jesus calls Peter to walk out to Him on the water. “But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:30-32) Peter doubted too.
But in both of these instances, the doubt is replaced with a renewal of faith. When the 5,000 are fed, the miracle is so wondrous that twelve baskets are leftover! And after Jesus catches Peter and they are safely on the boat, “the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Mt. 14:42-43).
If we stop reading at the doubt, we miss out on so much! If the familiar story of the feeding of 5,000 ended with doubt, we would hardly pay it notice. Jesus was speaking to crowd, they grew hungry, Jesus wanted to feed them but the disciples thought it impossible. The end. Or what about Peter? He began to doubt and sink in the water. And that’s it? No. We must go beyond the doubt.
Throughout our lives we may be faced with doubt. But we cannot let our stories end with the doubt! We need to look past the doubts that the devil tries to weave into our minds. We know that Jesus is Lord! Let us pray for our faith to be strengthened so that when we are faced with doubt we can look past them and, like Thomas, cry out with all our hearts, “My Lord and my God!”