Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29)
Today’s text is the familiar account of Doubting Thomas. Thomas had not been present with the other ten disciples when Jesus appeared the evening of His resurrection (John 20:19-23). We do not know why Thomas was absent.
When the other disciples met him, they told him that they had seen the Lord. Thomas was resolute in his disbelief of what they claimed to have experienced. He made the memorable statement, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Why was Thomas so resolute? Perhaps it was Thomas’ personality, which many describe as being faithful but pessimistic (John 11:1-16). This pessimism can be seen in Thomas’ statement: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Thomas does not say, “When I see, then I will believe.” Rather, his tone and tenor is negative. “Unless I see, I will never believe.” I often wonder how many believers in Christ are like Thomas in this respect. Overly negative. Consistently cynical. Gloomy and glum.
Well, as we know the text continues to say that “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” The setting is similar to the prior week. The disciples were inside their locked room, perhaps for the same reason as before: for fear of the Jews. Were they worshipping? Praying? The text does not say. The text does say that this time, Thomas was with them.
Even though the doors were locked Jesus suddenly appeared in the midst of them. He again greeted them all, including Thomas, by saying, “Peace be with you.” It was then that Jesus specifically spoke to Thomas and said, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Jesus commanded Thomas to no longer disbelieve but rather to believe. The language Jesus used indicates a very strong contrast.
When Jesus said to Thomas to believe, He meant for Thomas, and all disciples of Jesus, to trust in, commit to, depend upon and worship Him as the resurrected Lord and Savior of sinners. Once again, what was true for Thomas is true for believers today.
Thomas’ response was a wonderful confession for the deity of Jesus Christ. Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “With these words, Thomas declared his firm belief in the resurrection and, therefore, the deity of Jesus the Messiah and Son of God (Titus 2:13). This is the greatest confession a person can make. Thomas’s confession functions as the fitting capstone of John’s purpose in writing (John 20:30–31).”
However, Jesus foreknew a time when believers in Christ would not have the physical evidence from which Thomas benefited. Therefore, Jesus replied, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
While there is ample evidence to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we have examined the evidence here on this website, our commitment, trust, dependence and worship of Jesus is solely be faith and not by sight at this time. Since Jesus ascension, all believers are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Therefore, Jesus pronounced a special blessing on those who believe without seeing.
I Peter 1:8-9 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
I John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
All people are persons of faith. The only question is, “faith in what object?” The only object of faith which delivers the sinner from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin and its guilt is Jesus Christ. This is the core message of the Gospel.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!