I Doubt Thomas Was An Optimist

I just listened to a local pastor reading  through the Bible book of John chapter 11 and teaching that Thomas was acting in a spiritual manner in his response to Jesus. That his thoughts were optimistic and showed great faith because he was willing to die for Jesus. But was that the case?

The disciples did not want to go and visit Lazarus because of the danger that could meet them there.

The disciples said to him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again? John 11:8 ESV

Jesus addressed the reason why they should go and Thomas responds to that reasoning.

14 Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him. 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. John 11:14-16 ESV

If we look at this and other statements in Scripture that Thomas makes after  this one we can better evaluate Thomas and then see that he is not an optimist but a pessimist and even a bit sarcastic.

Thomas did not figure out what Jesus was talking about and expressed the obvious unspiritual tone of the disciples.

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going. 5 Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? John 14:2-5 ESV

His doubts about Jesus and what the disciples witnessed after the resurrection of Jesus.

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe. 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. 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. 28 Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God! 29 Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:24-29 ESV

Thomas finally determined that the disciples were not lying to him 8 days later which goes against the whole optimistic spiritual Thomas deal. Because of Thomas’ statements after his first statement in chapter 11 of John, I hate to tell you this but Thomas is a pessimist and not as spiritually renowned as I had heard prior.  Well at least until he sees the resurrected Jesus anyway!

Unfortunately as I reflect on these passages of Scripture I see how I am much more like doubting Thomas, who is pessimistic and sarcastic, than Jesus who does not express doubt due to what his father tells him and is optimistic to the very end.


A husband, father, xav8r, Jesus follower from Detroit who works in IT, enjoys hockey, college football, and a cigar. Currently geographical status is a northerner exiled to the south!

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