Poor Thomas gets a bad rap from the world. He’s is better known to us, even people who haven’t read the scriptures as Doubting Thomas. Yet, him isn’t the gospels that named it that, He is known as Thomas Didymus, or Thomas the Twin. He was one of the more vocal of the Twelve, and showed curiosity and exuberance for Jesus during His ministry. Thomas wanted answers and wasn’t afraid to ask questions or be honest. But Thomas most famous act is declaring that he wouldn’t believe the ther disciples had seen Jesus in the flesh unless he could not only touch Jesus’ wounds but stick his hand into them. Verses 24-29 tell the story.
“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.”
Thomas isn’t so much different than most of us, or even the rest of the disciples. The others didn’t believe until Jesus revealed Himself to them. They asked for proof too. (Luke 24:39-43). But Thomas wasn’t with them, then. He wanted the same proof they said they had. How many in the world can’t believe the Gospel? How many want scientific proof in order to have faith? Even when they are presented with the science, they can’t believe.
But Thomas had a different reaction when Jesus showed Himself to Him. He answered “My Lord and my God!” I get the impression Thomas didn’t touch Jesus wounds. He saw Jesus and immediately proclaimed Him to be his Lord and God. Thomas made Jesus his Master and announced Him to be God, His God. He wrapped up salvation in his declaration. His answer was personal, profound, and a 180º from his previous dramatic statement that he wouldn’t believe unless he got to touch and put his hand Jesus wounds.
For Thomas, seeing was believing and believing led to seeing the whole truth at once. But Jesus pronounced a beatitude for us, who were not among the more than 500 people who got to see the Risen Lord during the forty days after the Resurrection. He said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Believer, He is referring to you and me! We are blessed. We can rejoice and be envied. We are gifted and it is special that we believe in Jesus Christ without the benefit of seeing Him the flesh. Peter described that joy and blessing in 1 Peter 1:3-9.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 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, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
We have been given this special time, our circumstances, our lives and we can use all that to share the awesome news with others. God saved you, shapes you, and put you where you are at the time you are there, coming in contact with the specific people you do as a gift. You have the hope of your own resurrection and eternity. You are blessed because you believe and you can share that blessing with others. Jesus wants you to too. (John 20:21).
Your salvation and sharing that joy with others is the reason John wrote the gospel. Verses 30-31 read,
“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.”
You weren’t given the gift of belief so you could hide, keep it to yourself, or be stagnant. You were given the gift so you could have life! You are meant to live. You are meant to grow. Jesus made it possible for Thomas to grow from asserting his stubborn unbelief to pronouncing the truth. He changed eleven men with shaky faith into the Church, the Bride of Christ. He changed Saul from a man zealous against Jesus to Paul a missionary zealous for Him. Jesus did everything He did for you, so that you could live and live freely, generously, and richly. He came so you could live out loud with enthusiasm, spirit, and cheerfulness. John 10:9-10 reads,
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”