You know, I think Thomas gets a bad rap in the church. The poor guy doesn’t even get called just Thomas anymore—what do we call him? Doubting Thomas.
And the truth of the matter is that Thomas isn’t the biggest doubter in the Bible. Not really. The man who doubted the most is someone we usually speak about in the context of having strong faith. I’m talking about John the Baptist.
Stick with me here.
I’m convinced that John the Baptist got to see/experience God on earth in a way that no other human being has, nor properly ever will.
When you ask? During the baptism of Christ.
Here he is, a man who has spent his entire life telling people about Jesus and preparing them for Christ to come to the world. When people asked if they could follow John, he told them to go follow Jesus. Then one day as John’s going about his business, Jesus comes and asks John to baptize him.
During the baptism John is HOLDING Jesus, he HEARS the voice of the Father, and SEES the Spirit in the form of a dove come down from heaven.
It could be argued that—if anyone in history—John was the one man who had absolutely no reason to ever doubt God. Not after that. Not after the Trinity all at once.
Later, John’s captured by the king and imprisoned. The king promises his new stepdaughter anything she desires and she asks for John’s head on a platter. Word gets back to John that he’s on death row and fear blasts through his veins.
When his friends come to visit he sends word through them to Jesus – the message he sent?
“Are you really the Christ?”
Translation: I don’t really want to die unless I’m 100% certain of this Jesus-thing. I’m scared. I’m suffering. I doubt that you’re even real. I know you’ve shown yourself to me before but I don’t care about that, I need something right now.
Here is a man who touched, heard, and saw God, and in his darkest moment faltered. Jesus sends back word that he truly is God and John goes to his death. But take heart, I’m not to the best part of the story yet!
Soon after John’s death Jesus is talking to a large gathering of people and he is asked about John. Here’s Christ’s opportunity to say anything. He doesn’t voice disappointment. He doesn’t make an example out of John. He doesn’t say he’s angry. He doesn’t admonish him for doubting. No.
Jesus makes one statement about John:
He was the greatest man ever born of woman.
See, God’s not angry or put off when we doubt. He doesn’t shake His head or turn His back. When we question Him He doesn’t shake His fist.
Instead, He reassures us that He’s God, and He’s trustworthy—even in our darkest moments and even when our situations don’t go how we would want them.
He opens His arms. Letting us all know that doubters are welcome in the Kingdom of God.
Image courtesy of Nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net