Our company had hired John from a nearby competitor, and as he and I got to know each other, we discovered we knew some people in common, including Tom. I had met Tom a few times at industry events, but John had co-labored with him daily as managers for the same employer. “What I really respect about Tom,” John began, “is the fact that, no matter how many people are in a meeting, he is unafraid to admit that he doesn’t understand something, and he will continue to ask questions until he does.” Until this point, I could be counted among the timid souls who preferred to sit quietly in ignorance than to risk the embarrassment of revealing it, but I immediately decided to take courage from this story of Tom’s honesty and henceforth to pursue a matter until I understood it.
Encouraging His disciples in His final hours, Jesus said, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”1 We are left to wonder about the blank stares, the less-than-convincing head-nods, and the length of unknowing silence before Thomas audibly confessed what surely all silently wondered: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”2 He had been one of the quiet disciples, but in this moment the world needed one willing to set aside personal pride for eternal truth—the world needed Thomas. For Jesus’ answer to his question has echoed for millennia a truth-claim that will never cease: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”3
We call him “doubting Thomas”—a moniker well-earned, though perhaps a bit judgmental—but I think we could just as easily think of him “honest Thomas.” Understanding and certainty were so vital to him that he stepped into the momentary leadership vacuum, speaking courageously and seeking clarity, not content to be without it. And aren’t we glad! Yet Thomas will learn more—much more—in the next two weeks of his life, for as important as it is for us to seek truth and understanding, we must also reach the point of trusting what we do not see or cannot fully comprehend. It’s called faith—not just any faith, but faith in Jesus, who, as we now know, is the way and the truth and the life. We come to the Father through Him. (Thanks for asking, Thomas!)
Father, thank you for hearing us when we seek to understand you and for speaking truth to our soul—your word is truth. Strengthen us to live this life by faith in your Son who loves us and gave Himself up for us. In His name we pray. Amen.
1 John 14:3, 4
2 John 14:5
3 John 14:6