But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
And after eight days again His disciples were inside and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have your believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” – John 20:24-29
Let’s look at Thomas…
Jesus invited his disciples to accompany him on a dangerous mission. A friend had died, and he wanted to go and publicly raise his friend from death. Feeling pessimistic, Thomas heaved a deep sigh and muttered, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
This disciple probably went by the motto, ‘if anything bad can happen, it will’. Death hung like a dark cloud over his vision of the future.
It wasn’t that Thomas’ vision was unrealistic. There were powerful persons upset with Jesus’ ministry and teachings. Upset enough to kill. Jesus and his followers had been lying low in the wake of this rising opposition.
Thomas’ worst fears came true. Jesus was arrested, quickly tried and executed. Once again the disciples had to lie low, this time without their master. Thomas was gone when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection. When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen their master alive, that he was risen from the dead, he shook his head in disbelief.
Staring incredulously, he said: “Unless I see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the wounds, and put my hand into the wound in his side, I will not believe.”
Imagine Thomas’ shock when he saw the risen Lord. Imagine his dismay when he realized that he had doubted, that he had discounted any hope of Jesus rising from the dead.
Jesus said, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side.” These were words of chastisement . . . but they were words of holy chastisement. The purpose was the restoration of Thomas. This invitation to touch Jesus’ wounds, resulted in Thomas’ healing. His heart was broken as he cried, “My Lord and my God!”
We can know that Jesus was from God, even that he died on a cross. But the master invites us to go further – to touch his wounds, to experience him alive from the dead . . . to discover that he died for us. May we, like Thomas, lose all doubt as we embrace the wounds of Jesus and confess him as our Lord and our God.