3 July 2012John 20:24-29
"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.'" (v. 27)
The story of Thomas' reaction to the news of Christ's resurrection is unique to the Gospel of John's account of Jesus' ministry and it is a story with which we can identify on many levels.
Jesus' followers are traumatised by his arrest and execution and, under the circumstances, are fearful for their own safety. In this time of grief, fear and confusion various events have begun to give them hope. The excitement of the women on finding the empty tomb, and Mary's claim to have met the risen Jesus in the garden have shocked and amazed the other followers. Later that day as they gather rather nervously in a carefully locked private house they are amazed to find Jesus among them but Thomas, having missed this encounter is understandably troubled.
In the character of Thomas we find much that is familiar to us. His doubts are not such much in Jesus, but in the reliability of his friends in their troubled state of mind. His insistence on detailed proof seems to suggest that he cannot bear to entertain such a wonderful possibility until he is certain there is no fear of disappointment.
In Jesus' encounter with Thomas we see his desire to free him from any sense of shame at having doubted as he reassures him with the words "Peace be with you" (v. 26). We see, too, a challenge in his statement that those who believe without seeing are truly blessed (verse 29). Perhaps most encouragingly of all we see in Jesus a desire to meet Thomas in every detail of his doubting and ensure that his faith is strengthened in every way.
- Why do you think Jesus waited a week before returning to Thomas?
- Jesus fulfilled Thomas' request exactly. What do you feel you need most from God today?