Thomas gets a lot of flack for having his doubts about the news of the resurrection. Nearly two millennia after that scene took place, the term “doubting Thomas” is still in circulation.
The doubting disciple wasn’t alone in his disbelief, as we can see from Luke 24:41, it is remarked that the disciples “disbelieved for joy” after they had been given the opportunity to physically examine the presence of their risen friend.
Disbelieved for joy?
In more straightforward terms, what they were being presented with was too good to be true.
They had been following someone for over three years at that point, who has turned their entire world upside down. They had experienced the miraculous, but more than that they had been given a hope that the world that they lived in was about to be radically changed for the better.
Then he was murdered on a Roman cross.
It is said that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” [Prv 13:12], well their hope, for all they knew hadn’t just been deferred, it had been put to death.
A hope that has died is not easily resurrected, but here, standing right in front of them, was the personification of that hope and he was even more impossibly alive.
The second half of the proverb that I referenced is that “a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
They had seen their hope nailed to and left to suffer and die on a tree of death. With Jesus standing right in front of them, flesh and blood, they were about to have their deepest desires fulfilled.
The tree of death had become the tree of life.
We have been sent into the world to proclaim the good news.When the disciples were able to reach out and touch that good news, it turned out to be so good that they were afraid to believe it.
If somehow, what they were seeing turned out to be some kind of trick, there would be no coming back from it. The disappointment would leave them utterly crushed.
That is how good the good news of the gospel is. So good that if it is true, you have inherited a life-sustaining hope that is going to prove to be eternal. So good that part of you is terrified to leave yourself vulnerable to it because if you do, and it turns out to be a lie, it will destroy you.
The good news of Jesus, the Messiah, is too good to be true… except it is.