Evening Reading for December 11

John 20:24-29
Suggested further reading: 2 Peter 3:8-16

How kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers! It is hard to imagine anything more tiresome and provoking than the conduct of Thomas, when even the testimony of ten faithful brethren had no effect on him and he doggedly declared, `Except I see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands, I will not believe.' But it is impossible to imagine anything more patient and compassionate than our Lord's treatment of this weak disciple.

He does not reject him, or dismiss him, or excommunicate him. He comes again at the end of a week and apparently for the special benefit of Thomas. He deals with him according to his weakness, like a gentle nurse dealing with a froward child: `Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side.' If nothing but the grossest, coarsest, most material evidence could satisfy him, even that evidence was supplied. Surely this was a love that passeth knowledge and a patience that passeth understanding.

A passage of Scripture like this, we need not doubt, was written for the special comfort of all true believers. The Holy Ghost knew well that the dull and the slow and the stupid and the doubting are by far the commonest type of disciples in this evil world. The Holy Ghost has taken care to supply abundant evidence that Jesus is rich in patience as well as compassion and that he bears with the infirmities of all his people. Let us take care that we drink into our Lord's spirit and copy his example. Let us never set down men in a low place, as graceless and godless, because their faith is feeble and their love is cold. Let us remember the case of Thomas and be very pitiful and of tender mercy. Our Lord has many weak children in his family, many dull pupils in his school, many raw soldiers in his army, many lame sheep in his flock. Yet he bears with them all and casts none away.

For meditation: Although God may chasten his people for their follies, he does so in order not to condemn them with the world (1 Cor. 11:32).

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