Why did Thomas doubt the resurrection of Jesus?

Thomas accepted that Jesus was the messiah, he saw and knew about the miracles Jesus performed in healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, walking on water and many others, he knew that a powerful God who created everything is able to do the impossible.

How could Thomas doubt Jesus resurrection when he witnessed the miracles of Jesus and had that certain knowledge?
Or he just wanted for Jesus to appear to him as he did to other apostles?

My assumption is that Thomas, and actually, all of the apostles, knew about the crucifixion. Either they hid in the crowd to try to avoid being noticed, or they ran and hid. But, at the very least, they must have heard John’s testimony of Jesus’s death, including the part where blood and water poured out of Jesus’s side after the soldier had speared Jesus. They heard that Joseph of Arimithea had buried Jesus, and they knew where he had been buried. They all knew that Jesus had been executed, and they knew he was dead. There was no doubt about this. The apostles were all devastated, and afraid. The person who they believed would personally overthrow the Roman Empire and restore the Davidic line to Israel was dead. When He rose from the dead, Mary Magdelene and the other women were the first witnesses. They then told Peter and John - who themselves didn’t believe the women until they saw His tomb. Thomas gets a bad rep for doubting the words of the other ten, but his so-called doubting was probably him just trying to not get his hopes up. He didn’t want to believe something that sounded too good to be true just to be crushed again. He needed his own proof.

Thomas doubted the resurrection of Jesus for the same reason that I doubt the resurrection of Jesus, at one time or another. We are weak, sinful, and skeptical of every Good Thing we hear about. Can you blame him? He may have seen miracles and healings, but “come on, who will be raised from the dead, alone, before the Last Day?” You must remember that no one believed in a singular resurrection of one man, back then. Christ’s prophecy of a single person being resurrected from the dead before the General Resurrection at the end of time was totally unknown to Judaism at that time.

Thomas’s doubts stemmed from disbelief. Not in the sense of unbelief, but more in the sense of … “I can’t believe this!” Remember, he is the only one who didn’t see the Risen Lord. He is relying on the word of the others. While he wants to believe them, no one had ever risen from the dead like that. Not ever. Jesus didn’t just raise from the dead like Lazarus and the others did. From what Thomas had been told, the angels were there. The burial cloths were neatly folded, all of that. Add to that the tales, the fantastic tales, that Jesus just appeared and disappeared at will. And perhaps the other 10 disciples liked to joke around. Add all that together, and you end up with a tale that Thomas desperately wants to believe, but…it’s just too fantastic. If it was me, part of me would wonder if they were pulling my leg. That’s why he says he won’t believe unless he sees the wounds. He want’s to make sure it really is Jesus. He needs to see what they saw. And he’s just not sure they are serious.

But Thomas wasn’t put down for his disbelief. Jesus understood. Thomas’s “doubts” weren’t doubts to the degree that they would have been considered sins against faith. He didn’t see how it was possible. It had never happened before. But then, the Son of God had never been Man before, either. Thomas questioned. Thomas didn’t understand. There is no sin in either of those responses. There is no shame in having questions and not understanding.

Let’s face it, how many of us, if we are honest, would have been any different from Thomas. Three days before, John had told you all of the details of Jesus death. He told you where he was buried. You planned to visit the tomb yourself. Perhaps later that Sunday. Before you have the chance, you hear that he is alive. You leave the room you have all been staying in. You need to think. You take a walk. You think about going to the tomb but somehow you never make it there. You want to see for yourself. You are afraid to look in case everything is as it should be. As it normally would be. You go back to the room where the others are. They tell you they have seen the Lord while you were out. You want to believe them. They are pressing you to believe them. They tell you how he breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. You feel like you missed out becasue you weren’t there. One different choice and you would have seen the Lord, too. You want to know when he will visit again. No one knows. You want to know if he will visit again. No one knows that either. They press harder. You have to believe them, They have seen the Lord. You want to. You really want to. They are inisitent. So very insistent. Finally, in longing, because you so desperately want it to be true and are so afraid that it’s not, you blurt out, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in hia hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later they are all together again. And Jesus stands before Thomas. He gazes at him fondly and with infinite love and mercy, gentleness and understanding, he tells 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.” “My Lord and my God!”

It’s easy to say we would have believed. We would have been different that Thomas. And we say that for precisely the reasons you listed. And yet, for me, if it had been me, if I had been there when he was arrested, if I had grown up and grown old seeing crucifixions happen, not because I wanted to but because it was unavoidable, if I had known for certain that Jesus was truly and completely dead, would I have been any different than Thomas? If I am honest, I think, like him, I would have wanted it to be true so desperately, and yet I just couldn’t see how it was possible. Not like that. Not like they described. If I am honest, it’s highly likely I, too, would have said, “Unless I put my finger into the nailmarks I will not believe.” I can’t. I want to, but I can’t.

Thomas has proven beyond Doubt he is just as human as anyone…
Human nature makes us skeptical about so many things…
Just look at some thread Questions concerning creation and the universe on here…
At some stages of our own lives we all need confirmation of our faith…
Jesus said to Thomas, You believe because you have seen, blessed are those that believe but yet have not seen, I think that’s the words without looking it up…

The first Cruel Life Lesson we learn as children is that when someone dies, we do not get that person back. Period, full stop.

Events such as the raising of Lazarus might have registered in Thomas’ mind as “he wasn’t really dead.” When you see someone bleed to death before your eyes, no such room for doubt remains.

Thomas was allowed to doubt so that our LORD could fully convince him of HIS restored aliveness. And by so doing, give us hope when we face our own doubts in the shadow of that hideousness that is human death.


Thomas’ Lord DIED!!!
Even for the rest of the Apostles, that kind of trumped EVERYTHING they knew and saw
and experienced with Jesus, sort of the end of a chapter, BACK TO THE NORMAL LIFE.

As far as Thomas knew, Jesus was dead , he died, he
is dead, NO ONE comes back from the dead (normally).

It can’t be that surprising, even Jesus understood, as he allowed Thomas to “test” him, to put his finger through Christ’s hands and his hand in Christ’s side.

If Jesus can, in expressing His humanity, call from the Cross, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” a.k.a. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, then surely Thomas may be excused his own moment of doubt?

Wasn’t he aware of God plan for his coming on earth? Why otherwise he asked: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” How could he possibly be unaware of his mission and its end if he is God?

This is very beautifully said. I got tears in my eyes as I read it (and I’m not a big weeper) because I could almost visualize Thomas’ love for Jesus, disbelief in what was simply beyond his human mind to comprehend and finally his anguished–but joyful–“My Lord and my God!” The truth is that we are no better than Thomas–how many of us receive the Eucharist without the absolutely correct reverence at least on occasion? And yet, Jesus forgives us too–for the unfaithfulness always present in the human mind that naturally balks at that which is beyond our comprehension!

A documentary film on St.Thomas shows that went to see the 2 soldiers (protecting the tomb of Jesus) who were arrested and jailed by the Romans, to hide the truth of Resurrection. St.Thomas was an intellectual and will always find scientific reasons before believing. This is why he went to investigate the resurrection. Once he found out the truth, he was confident and at once said My Lord my God… when he saw Jesus.

This can be applied to anything that is unseen, imagine how much unseen beliefs we have.
Why believe in this “unseen event” but not in another contrary “unseen event”?

He is supposed to know the plan that he made as a God.

I love Thomas, he is my patron saint.

Here is how I interpreted that passage in scripture. These disciples all believed in Jesus. They witnessed him throughout his entire ministry. When their master was crucified before them, humiliated, tortured, and killed, it hit them all like a ton of bricks. They didn’t know what to believe. They did not expect this. Most if not all of them probably lost hope and figured they had all been duped. When news came of Jesus’ resurrection, I expect that Thomas probably didn’t believe it right away because it seemed too good to be true. His hopes were already so shattered from having lost his messiah, he probably had his guard up and didn’t want to get his hopes up for anything anymore, just to have them crushed again. He had to see Jesus himself before he was willing to believe again. Basically I think there was a lot of emotion involved in this story.

Jesus’ Divinity did not always prevent Him from having/experiencing human emotions and feelings, including moments of ‘frailty’ - in those words Jesus expressed human emotional desolation. There He was naked and beaten and battered, the butt of all manner of insult and calumny, with friends and followers having abandoned Him, except for His mother and John. Jesus’ Divinity allowed His humanity to be expressed also.

He is God and has to do his job 100% perfect. 99.99% of appropriate actions is not acceptable from God. Moreover he did complain to father not people who left him. I understand how tragic was his situation at the moment from human point of view and if he was a human, but I cannot accept such a words from God no matter how hard his condition becomes. Those words also cause serious doubt about, if he was aware of his mission and how it ends.

Jews believed that Elisha raised the old woman’s son from the dead.

When Eli’sha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and shut the door upon the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. Then he went up and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. Then he got up again, and walked once to and fro in the house, and went up, and stretched himself upon him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. (2 Kings 4:32-35)

The Sadducees denied anything other than the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures and so did not believe that the prophets were really from God. They did not therefor, believe that Elisha raised the woman’s son from the dead, but the majority of Jews understood the writings of the prophets and their works, and that Elisha raised a boy from the dead.

Also reference 2 Kings 13. Some men threw a dead body into Elisha’s tomb and the man was raised when his corpse touched Elisha’s bones.


The usual, :blush:

from post 9

Originally Posted by Mount Carmel View Post
If Jesus can, in expressing His humanity, call from the Cross, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” a.k.a. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, then surely Thomas may be excused his own moment of doubt?

Wasn’t he aware of God plan for his coming on earth? Why otherwise he asked: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” How could he possibly be unaware of his mission and its end if he is God?

The quote in Matthew ch 27 is a line from Psalm 22 **which ends triumphantly. :eek: :thumbsup:

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why so far from my call for help,
from my cries of anguish?a
My God, I call by day, but you do not answer;
by night, but I have no relief.b
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the glory of Israel.c
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted and you rescued them.
To you they cried out and they escaped;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.d
But I am a worm, not a man,
scorned by men, despised by the people.e
All who see me mock me;
they curl their lips and jeer;
they shake their heads at me:f
“He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him;
if he loves him, let him rescue him.”g
For you drew me forth from the womb,
made me safe at my mother’s breasts.
Upon you I was thrust from the womb;
since my mother bore me you are my God.h
Do not stay far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is no one to help.i
Many bulls
surround me;
fierce bulls of Bashan* encircle me.
They open their mouths against me,
lions that rend and roar.j
Like water my life drains away;
all my bones are disjointed.
My heart has become like wax,
it melts away within me.
As dry as a potsherd is my throat;
my tongue cleaves to my palate;
you lay me in the dust of death.*
Dogs surround me;
a pack of evildoers closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and my feet
I can count all my bones.k
They stare at me and gloat;
they divide my garments among them;
for my clothing they cast lots.l
But you, LORD, do not stay far off;
my strength, come quickly to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the grip of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth,
my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.m
Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the assembly I will praise you:n
“You who fear the LORD, give praise!
All descendants of Jacob, give honor;
show reverence, all descendants of Israel!
For he has not spurned or disdained
the misery of this poor wretch,
Did not turn away
from me,
but heard me when I cried out.
I will offer praise in the great assembly;
my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.
The poor* will eat their fill;
those who seek the LORD will offer praise.
May your hearts enjoy life forever!”o
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of nations
will bow low before him.p
For kingship belongs to the LORD,
the ruler over the nations.q
*All who sleep in the earth
will bow low before God;
All who have gone down into the dust
will kneel in homage.
And I will live for the LORD;
my descendants will serve you.
The generation to come will be told of the Lord,
that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn
the deliverance you have brought.

Jesus was telling us that he shared in our temporary suffering in this world but that all would be well in the end.

So is it that YOU cannot or will not accept that God in Jesus is capable/able/willing to let the frail side of His humanity be expressed, thus fully identifying with the experience of human desolation?

Actually, Jesus raised Lazarus and (I believe) two others from the dead, he did no resurrect them in the sense that we see resurrection of Jesus and the coming resurrection of the dead. This is the key point to Thomas’s doubt. Raising Lazarus from the dead was much more akin to a modern day doctor reviving a patient from a near-death experience than it would be like the resurrection of Jesus. Lazarus came back a normal man, healed of what caused him to die. Christ was resurrected into his glorified body. Lazarus went on to die again, Christ did not. Even in those days, it is likely that occasionally someone would come back from a near-death experience, where those around them detected the end of breathing and a heart beat, yet then the suddenly revived. It happens today without doctors intervention. So the raising of Lazarus was probably seen as an extreme from of a healing miracle.

Now, when Thomas doubted, he said he would not believe unless he could put his fingers in Christ’s wounds. He knew that what was being claimed of Jesus’s risen body was far beyond what happened to Lazarus. He knew that Jesus had risen, not been healed (his wounds would still be present). He knew that it was the true “Resurrection of the Body”, which they believed would happen on the last day, was what was being claimed.

This was why likely why he doubted. What was being claimed was not that Jesus recovered from death (like Lazarus) but that He had Risen.

I don’t know, I am not Christian, you define Jesus for me. If he is God then he has to be emotionless, so he can neither suffer for others nor suffer. He of course could suffer if he is human but then he cannot be God.

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