Jn 18:17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” To put Thomas into perspective, we will examine Peter’s example of doubt. Peter illustrated perfectly the fruit of doubt. Peter expressed doubt through action whereas Thomas expressed doubt in words. Thomas is often looked down upon by modern Christianity, but he was honest enough to admit he doubted and explained what it would take to remove the doubt. Peter, on the other hand, said one thing and did another. Doubt became sin when Peter denied knowing Jesus.
Jn 20:8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed This verse takes place immediately after the women find the tomb empty and they’ve called the men to see the empty tomb. In this case, the disciple saw the empty tomb and must have remembered all that Jesus had told them about his resurrection. The missing body was enough to erase the doubt.
Jn 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus forgave Peter for his moment of doubt. Just as Peter’s doubt was an act rather than mere words, Peter was given specific work to do in order to act in faith.
Jn 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” First, Jesus revealed himself just as he did to the other disciples following the resurrection. It was only after Jesus removed the excuse for doubt that he told Thomas to stop doubting and believe. In word and deed, Jesus commands that we put aside doubt and replace it with belief. Jesus wants us to have faith in his word. I think you might say he wants us to believe first and ask questions later. Even so, he certainly has and does go to the trouble of confirming his Lordship by confronting our doubts in very concrete ways.
This post is an excerpt (Question 6.12) from my book Ask James one.