“Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), 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 finger where the nails were,
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.’ Thomas said to him,
‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him,
‘Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
John 20:24-29 (NIV)
We know that the disciples had been with Jesus when He raised some from the dead. For example, in John 11, they witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus. So to see Jesus alive from the dead was not a category of event they had not previously known. Hence the surprising reaction by the disciples at the sight of the resurrected Master.
All of us know of people who seem to see the hole but not the donut. When a pastor I had one man in my church who often sought me out just before the Sunday morning service to tell me some sad story. It got to the place that I would do all I could to avoid him until after church. If I saw him coming, I would turn and go another way. It was sad but I needed the focus to be on my message and the problem could wait an hour or so to be shared. The dear man reminded me of Thomas.
The first three times we see Thomas in the Gospel of John (John 11:16; 14:5; 20:25) a negative cloud hangs over what he says. In John 11 Jesus announces they are going back to Judea and the disciples were shocked and warned Him the Jews had tried to kill Him when they had last been there. When Jesus insisted it was Thomas who said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Thomas was pessimistic but urged obedience to the Master.
The second time we see Thomas was when Jesus told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them. Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
The third scene was Thomas’s vociferous statement that he would not accept the testimony of others to Christ’s resurrection. He had to see Him for himself and inspect the crucifixion scars before he would believe. Then a few days later the disciples were together with Thomas and Jesus appeared. He quoted Thomas’ words about examining Jesus scars and Thomas instantly made a glorious confession, “My Lord and my God.”
How amazing of the Lord to have a sceptical disciple like Thomas who resisted the accounts of witnesses and finally was convinced. This is proof positive. So, as the many accounts of our Lord’s resurrection appearances are read, we see their diversity. Our Lord appeared to 500 people at once, to one person, to a group of women, He appeared in homes, out of doors, different times of the day, He prepared breakfast by the seashore, ate food with them and so on. How wonderful that the most important event in history has such positive proof.
We are so blessed to be able to say to Jesus exactly what Thomas did so long ago:
“My Lord and my God”
He is Lord, He is Lord
He has risen from the dead
And He is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord