|When we allow our Father God to hold our hand, we are eternally secure.|
Reading the context of this passage, my first reaction was chuckle at what Thomas told the other disciples. My thought tells me that Thomas said these words out of sarcasm and not out of empathy.
Jesus wanted to go back to Judea to take care of the needs of Lazarus' sisters, Martha and Mary. However, His disciples warned Him of the danger. They reminded Him what happened the last time they went to the place—the Jews were looking for Jesus to stone Him. He wants to go back and expose Himself to danger, again? How ridiculous, they thought. The disciples didn't understand why Jesus would risk His safety. I reckon they were more concerned of their own safety than Jesus,' the reason why they didn't want to go back to Judea.
Nothing will stop Jesus from going to Lazarus' place. He had a mission, not for Himself, but for the people who are about to witness the power and glory of God, His disciples most importantly.
Jesus told them that Lazarus is dead. Whether they like it or not, they are going to Bethany [Lazarus' place]. I love how Jesus exercised His authority in this scenario. After Jesus told them they are going, Thomas came into the scene, telling the other disciples (probably in a provoking voice), that to me sounds like, "Hey guys, let's go! If He dies, then we die too. Sounds fair to me!" But I think these words were not spoken out of zeal and willingness to die with Jesus. It is because he signed up to follow him, so he must do what He tells them to do, even if it means death.
I don't think Thomas wanted to go with Jesus to Judea. If he was, why would he remind the disciples the danger that could happen to them. In the first place, the disciples were already terrified. Thomas knew what it's like to be there with Jesus. He saw how the Jews wanted so bad to stone Jesus. He was a witness to their boiling rage. It was very scary for him. But despite of his insincerity, what he told his fellow disciples probably helped their decision to go.
Why have I thought of Thomas' words and action as insincere? I do not know exactly. I was brought to the scene where he expressed his unbelief of Jesus' appearance to the other disciples after His resurrection. Despite being with the company of Jesus for three years, witnessing His works and amazing miracles, listening to His teachings, Thomas still, was in the state of unbelief. He told everyone that he will not believe until he, himself will see Jesus with his own eyes. But that's not what all his conditions were. He said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." [John 20:25 NKJV].
We know what happened after.
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." [John 20:26-27]
I love this scene. The faithfulness of God, who can question? The very first person Jesus addressed to when He showed Himself to the disciples again was Thomas. The same Thomas who swore he is not going to believe that Jesus was alive unless he can poke his finger right into the nail-pierced hands of Jesus. The Almighty, all-powerful God humbled Himself and gave in to Thomas' demands. Why? Because He loved him. He cared about him. He desired for him to have a rooted faith in the Lord Jesus before He leaves them.
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” [John 20:28] Everytime I picture out what Thomas looks like in this encounter, I can see his mouth hanging open, standing still, eyes wide open. It's too much for him to bear and witness the Truth, standing right in front of him.
My faith in Jesus is sometimes like Thomas.' It wavers. In spite of having witnessed countless miracles, and experiencing His works in my life, my faith is still affected with the affairs of life. But what keeps me going is having the knowledge and the truth that my Father God is always faithful even when I am not.
I am thankful that the character of Thomas is given a space in the Word of God. God knew there would be many believers who can relate to Thomas' words and actions. It really doesn't bother God. What is important to Him is for us to be anchored in the truth of who He is when our own faith fails us. God is faithful and He will always be no matter what. Let us go, continue life, carrying inside us the truth of God's faithfulness to us, His children.