Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him “we have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” And Thomas said to him “My Lord and my God!”
John 20: 24-28
Even people who have never read the bible or attended church know about Thomas. A ‘doubting Thomas’ is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience. Only after Thomas saw the Lord with his own eyes did he believe.
The Torah portion that is read this week has another skeptic in it, Jacob.
Jacob had tricked his father and stolen the blessing from his brother. He fled Beersheba and set out to Harran. He got tired and used a stone for pillow. While he was asleep he has his famous dream and the Lord speaks to him.
I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
But unlike his grandfather Abraham he didn’t just pack up and followed an unseen God. He asks the Lord to first give him some proof.
If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God.
Genesis 28: 20 -21
Also Jacob needed to see some proof that the Lord is who He says He is. The Lord didn’t only provide him with food & clothing, He makes him exceedingly rich. The Lord gives him twelve sons, believing that the Lord was going to make him into a great people must have been a lot easier for Jacob then it was for Abraham & Isaac. And the Lord brings him back home safely.
As believers today, we can relate to both men. A lot of time has gone by since the Lord promised He will return. Some days it is very hard to believe that His promises still stand. But even today the Lord still appears to people, like he did to Thomas. He watches over us just like He did over Jacob. And he will keep His word and return.