But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.…
I. THE WEAKENING OF ONE'S RELIGIOUS CONFIDENCE IS THE FIRST AND FATALEST OF SATAN'S WILES.
II. BUT IN INDIVIDUAL CASES IT DOES NOT ALWAYS FOLLOW THAT ONE WHO DOUBTS HAS FALLEN INTO A MORTAL SIN. Thomas raises a question concerning the most vital of all the evidences of Christianity. Yet Jesus deigns to reason with him, grants the proof he seems so superciliously to demand. Martin Luther used to say that no man was wicked because the unclean birds sometimes lit upon his head; he was bad only when he tamely suffered them to build their nests in his hair.
III. THE PRESENCE AND COMPANIONSHIP OF PRAYING MEN IS A GOOD HELP TO FAITH, AND THE ABSENCE OF IT FREQUENTLY GIVES THE REASON OF ONE'S DOUBTING. It has been a quaint but familiar use of this incident, which has made it the basis of many an exhortation concerning neglect of prayer-meetings. Thomas's name of "the missing disciple" is almost as well known as that of "the doubting disciple." There is always strength in the countenance of an earnest assembly of praying men; Thomas lost that at all events.
IV. CHRISTIANITY DOES NOT DISDAIN THE USE OF ARGUMENTS ADDRESSED TO HUMAN REASON IN ITS LOGIC. "Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord." Our religion is a reasonable religion. There was nothing in Thomas's demand that was unauthorized; he only wanted what the rest of the disciples had had from the Lord Himself while he was away.
V. THE SYSTEM OF OUR FAITH GOES ALTOGETHER, THE MOMENT ANY ONE DOCTRINE OF IT IS CLEARLY ESTABLISHED. Really, the only thing Thomas had doubted was the resurrection of Jesus. And yet, when this was settled, he gave up everything in a grand confession of fresh acknowledgement.
VI. A BELIEF FOUNDED IN RELIGIOUS TRUST IS BETTER THAN A BELIEF CONSTRAINED BY ARGUMENT. There is no real conflict between reason and faith; and yet reason is so proud that it refuses to accept what faith craves. So sometimes it keeps needed truth off at arms' length — as a crazy man might be conceived to toss a loaf of bread from hand to hand, testing it for its weight, while he was literally starving for food. But faith longs only to receive it, and live upon it.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.