Text–19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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.”
26 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.” 27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Summary–This narrative concerns the meeting of Jesus and Thomas a week after Christ’s resurrection. Thomas had not been present with the other disciples when Christ first appeared to them in the upper room. Upon hearing that Christ had indeed risen from the dead and had appeared to the rest, Thomas doubted. He replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers into his side, I will not believe it” (vv. 25). Jesus appears to Thomas and offers up proof that he was raised from the dead. In a glorious transformation from doubt to joy following Christ’s appearance to him, Thomas professes his faith that Jesus is his Lord and his God. This declaration is the greatest profession of faith recorded in the gospels.
Insight–Are there ever times in your Christian walk when you question God? Are you ever suspicious about what you read in the Bible, especially in such matters as the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Well you are not alone in this. Thomas questioned God at this very point. He doubted what everyone else seemed to believe, that Jesus was risen from the dead. He had the gall to ask for a sign on what the disciples were claiming. He went so far as to say that he wouldn’t believe it until he personally placed his fingers into the very wounds that secured Christ to the cross. How much patience and love does Christ show when we doubt him? For he could have let Thomas falter in his unbelief, writing him off that he should have known that the tomb would be empty. But instead, our Lord fixed his eyes on Thomas and told him to go ahead, put his hands into the nail holes; put them into his side where others had thrust a spear. The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon argued, “Our Lord does not always act towards us according to his own dignity, but according to our necessity; and if we really are so weak that nothing will do but thrusting a hand into his side, he will let us do it.” Thomas was given the chance to put his fingers into the nail prints in order to cure his doubt. Maybe you want the same opportunity. Maybe you ask for just one visible sign that will remove all doubt. You have that sign at your fingertips. Quoting Augustine, “take up and read”. Reread the gospel account of Christ’s suffering and death for your sake. Picture the very holes that Christ offered to Thomas to alleviate his doubt. Be strengthened that Christ did this for you. John wrote this account so that you would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that you would have life in His name.
Catechism–(Q) Why was the book of John written? (A) So that we will believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Discussion–Where can you turn when you doubt that Jesus was raised from the dead for you?
Prayer–Heavenly Father, we praise you that you raised your Son from the dead that we would live. We thank you for your Word that strengthens us when we doubt. Keep us in your hands, Lord. Let us grow in faith every day as we read your Word and pray to you. We ask this in that name of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Contributed by Michael Fenimore