One of my favorite Easter narratives is the story of Thomas as recorded in the 20th chapter of John’s gospel. Remember on the first resurrection day, Thomas was not present with the other 10 apostles when Jesus revealed Himself to them. When the other disciples tell Thomas that they had seen the Lord we read Thomas’ response, “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 it”, (v. 25b NIV). What did Thomas want? He simply wanted to be put on the same level as the other disciples. They had seen the Lord Jesus and he wanted to see Jesus in order to believe it for himself. He wanted the personal touch of Jesus on his life. His one mistake was that he laid down only one way for God to work. He appointed the gate through which the Lord must come into his life. Because Thomas had anticipated the worse he couldn’t believe the best. I believe Thomas was present at the cross or maybe helped take Jesus’ body down from the cross. Foremost in his mind was the dead body of Jesus. The death of his Master had been burnt into his soul, his heart was with the lifeless body of Christ.
Finally, a week later when Jesus appeared we see a very different response, we read, “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!” (v.26-28 NIV). Thomas had been moping around for 7 days while the other disciples were celebrating. Here John’s gospel comes to a climax as all the fears and doubts of Thomas are swept away in one incredible moment of revelation. Yet there’s no evidence in Scripture or indication that Thomas actually touched the Lord. Overwhelmed by the glory of Christ that now breaks upon him like a flood he makes a profound declaration, “My Lord and My God”! There is a 3 fold aspect of Thomas’ confession that is very important for us to catch. First it speaks of personal surrender. Notice the word “My”, Thomas yields himself completely to Jesus. Secondly his confession speaks of Jesus’ authority over him. As Thomas uses “Lord” to establish who’s really in charge of his life. Thirdly his statement “My God”, is a clear statement of Jesus’ deity. Thomas connected the resurrection with deity. He realized that Jesus is not a man-made god but rather God made man. Sometimes the greatest doubters become the greatest believers. These are not the words of a chronic doubter but a believer with an ever expanding faith.
One of my favorite parts of the narrative is the promise that Jesus gives to you and I after Thomas’ confession. We read- Then Jesus told Him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have no seen and yet have believed”, (v. 29 NIV). That promise is entirely for us. We have a greater blessing through faith than Thomas did through sight. Someone has said, “Thomas’ lack of faith did more for our faith than did the faith of the disciples that believed”. Jesus is saying it is better to be convinced by moral and spiritual evidence than by the evidence of the senses. Our faith is a very sensible faith. It is grounded in the testimony of revelation. There is a warning here for those who seek signs and wonders in order to believe.
How about you- do you long for Jesus’ personal touch on your life? Celebrate the Risen Savior this resurrection Sunday and He might just show up in some unbelievable, incredible way.
Pastor Rich Sivo
PS- Next week I will hopefully and prayerfully be blogging from Jerusalem.