Eyewitness to Easter: Doubting Thomas

Upon the arrest of Jesus, the disciples disperse and only John mentioned at the cross and crucifixion.  We don’t know where the other disciples were or if they were watching from afar, which seems likely.

Thomas wanted to see Jesus scars

We do know they feel lost and unsure of what’s next, believing Jesus is the Messiah. 

After Jesus resurrection, we are told “That evening, the disciples gathered together. And because they were afraid of reprisals from the Jewish leaders, they had locked the doors to the place where they met. But suddenly Jesus appeared among them and said, “Peace to you!”  {John 20:19}

This is the first time Jesus is mentioned appearing to Jesus upon his resurrection.  We know the tomb is empty when Peter and John arrives and later he appears to Mary Magdalene, but now he appears to the other disciples.

They are scared of the Jewish leaders and unsure what might happen to them. They lock the doors for their safety when Jesus appears to them with the message Peace to you.

Can you imagine being there? The awe on their faces? To see their Lord, who was beaten, crucified and died now stand before them.  All the doubts subsided and there is no doubt in their minds he is the Messiah.

However, not all the disciples are there.  We know Judas kills himself, but scripture also tells us Thomas is not there.  We do not know where Thomas is or why he’s not there.

The other disciples are excited when they see Thomas and to give him the news.

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  {John 20:24-29}

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.”  {John 20:24-29}

Matthew Henry says, “The objections Thomas raised against the evidence, to justify himself in his unwillingness to admit it. “Tell me not that you have seen the Lord alive; you are too credulous; somebody has made fools of you… He did not pay a just deference to the testimony of his fellow-disciples, who were men of wisdom and integrity, and ought to have been credited. He knew them to be honest men; they all ten of them concurred in the testimony with great assurance; and yet he could not persuade himself to say that their record was true. ”

Thomas may want to believe, but he’s unable to.  He says unless he can see the nail marks for himself.  How often are we a doubting Thomas, not believing unless we can see?

26 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!” 27 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.”   {John 20:24-29}

A week later, all the disciples are once again together. This time Thomas is with them and doors are locked. Jesus arrives with the same message and then turns to Thomas.  Holding his hand up, he tells Thomas to put his finger there in his hands and then his side. He commends him to stop doubting and believe.

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”    {John 20:24-29}

Seeing is believing and Thomas finally believes.

Matthew Henry says, “He is now ashamed of his incredulity, and cries out, My Lord and my God.”

29 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}

We are not told if Thomas placed his finger in Jesus wounds, but given Jesus words it seems he did not.  Thomas has seen Jesus and now he believes.

Thou hast seem, and believed; seeing sufficed. And now faith comes off a conqueror, after a struggle with unbelief.”  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

We are called to a life of faith.  We cannot see Jesus the way the disciples did, but we know he is real and as alive today as he was over two thousand years today.  Living a life of faith, means trusting in all we cannot see, but believing in Jesus and all he does for us.

We have a choice whether we want to be a Doubting Thomas or a Believing Thomas.

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