John 20:24-20 – “Faithful Thomas”

Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus first appeared after the resurrection. We are not told why and it may not be important. But while the other ten were locked in the upper room out of fear, Thomas was someplace else. Thomas seemed ready to die with Jesus in John 11, so it may be the case that he is willing to go about his life, almost daring the Jews to arrest him too.

Doubting Thomas

On the other hand, perhaps Thomas experienced a “crisis of faith” when Jesus died. If he believed Jesus was the Messiah and that the Messiah was not going to be crucified by the Romans, perhaps Jesus’ death caused him to doubt everything. He may be in a state of denial, like Peter, but deeper.

Whatever the case, he returns to the upper room the disciples tell him that Jesus is alive. Jesus is “more than alive,” he has risen from the dead to a new kind of life. Whatever the reason, when he is told that Jesus rose from the dead, he refuses to believe without further evidence. Thomas gets a bad reputation as a skeptic for not believing what the disciples told him.

On the other hand, there is virtually nothing in Second Temple Period Judaism that anticipated the death of the Messiah not his resurrection to eternal life. It was something which Thomas was not ready to believe since it was unbelievable within his world view. The disciples are making an extraordinary claim, that the messiah intended to die and rise to eternal life. This will require them to re-think virtually everything that they believe.

When Jesus appears in the midst of the disciples a second time, Thomas believes and confesses Jesus as “Lord and God” (verse 28). Thomas’s confession is a theological statement for the whole book of John. The writer has been slowly revealing who Jesus is through a series of misunderstandings, people hear Jesus’ words but do not fully comprehend his meaning. Even after the resurrection, Mary thinks Jesus’ body was stolen, then the disciples wonder if he ever really died. Even when he appears to them, they still do not confess Jesus quite the way Thomas does in verse 28.

John therefore intends Thomas’s words as a final word on who Jesus is: he is the “Lord and God” of the reader, and that by believing that he is the Lord one can have eternal life in his name (verse 31).

31 thoughts on “John 20:24-20 – “Faithful Thomas”

  1. If I had to choose on Thomas’ reaction to Jesus’ death it would be P. Long’s latter explanation; “On the other hand, perhaps Thomas experienced a “crisis of faith” when Jesus died” (Long). And I don’t blame Thomas, being raised a Jew, doubting his faith in Jesus after his death which appears quite wimpy and not so messianic compared to the savior he was expecting to be conquering and ruling. Another element of Judaism belief is actually seeing. Crowds came out to see Jesus perform miracles because they needed to see it for themselves in order to believe it. They required a witnessing of the miraculous. Which is quite a contrast to what is required for most people today. Of course God is able to do whatever, but if everyone was like the Jews, there may not be as many people coming into relationship with Jesus in our time. The writer of Hebrews says it like this, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). It’s interesting to note that there is a written account of all of the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit except for Thomas. I don’t want to claim that Thomas wasn’t born again, nor do I want to claim that about anyone. It appears as the Holy Spirit is clearly at work in his life following this experience because of the kingdom work he did throughout the Roman Empire. Before the first group of disciples witnessed the resurrected Jesus, there doors were locked for fear of the Jews (John 19:19). It is the same deal with this appearance to Thomas. I’m not sure if this is also because of fear of the Jews or if this was the norm during their time. Although Thomas so often gets singled out, he was no different from the other disciples who are no different from us today. Who knows how long the first group of disciples would have stayed in that room with the doors locked if it weren’t for Jesus appearing to them. It is through Jesus revealing himself to us that results in our desire and zeal to pursue a relationship and to serve him.

  2. It seems that Thomas has a very human view of what happened. His response of needing proof is something that we as humans do a lot. “I’ll believe it when I see it…” is a typical statement and it seems as that is where Thomas is coming from. That makes Thomas sound like a skeptic but I like what P. Long says at the end in terms of the writer of John is slowly revealing the meaning of the book of John. He is “Lord and God”. The disciples were locked away from the Jews until Jesus comes back and in the same way, Thomas is away as well. Like JCaps points out, the disciples and Thomas are not much different. Jesus reveals himself to them and they believe. Thomas reaction seems as if he is more surprised and amazed that Jesus is risen and therefore would love to see for himself. We obviously do not have the opportunity to “see” Jesus like Thomas or the disciples did but in the same way, this leads to the excitement of having faith that one day we to will see his face.

  3. I would tend to agree with Clark. The fact that Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection seems to fit well with a human response. Thomas does not seem anymore skeptical than the rest of his fellow Jews living in a generation which demanded a sign. Jesus shows Thomas his hands and side and then Thomas believes. In verse 29, however, Jesus says “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”. We fall into this second category of people who must believe without having seen. Thomas’ reaction and approach reminds us to be patient with those who have trouble accepting the Gospel message. (How much more difficult is it to believe in a resurrected Jesus for someone from our current worldview?) This passage is a great reminder as well as an encouragement to Christians. The fact that we can come to a faith in Christ is nothing short of a miracle; the work of the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts and minds.

    • I really like what Scott has to say about this. ” Thomas’ reaction and approach reminds us to be patient with those who have trouble accepting the Gospel message. (How much more difficult is it to believe in a resurrected Jesus for someone from our current worldview?)” Thomas doubted the resurrection of Jesus just as any one of us would have. It was not until he saw it with his own eyes and touched it that he believed. While this is often looked down upon, as P. Long pointed out, this is a “theological statement for the whole book of John.” Thomas was the first to get it right, Jesus is the “Lord and God”. As Scott said, this is the right reaction and Jesus tells him “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” which is easily directed to today. The truth is, people will always have a hard time accepting the Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus because it does not make sense in a rational worldview. Both today and back then, it was deemed impossible to raise from the dead. Thus, we need to be patient with those who struggle in accepting it. Perhaps it is better that they struggle rather than blindly believe. As Scott said, “The fact that we can come to a faith in Christ is nothing short of a miracle; the work of the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts and minds.”

  4. I would have to agree with Scott and Andrew that it was Thomas human response to want proof that Jesus had risen from the dead. After Jesus brutal death on the cross I can see why Thomas would want proof and yet I do not understand that he did not believe the other disciples. When Jesus appears to the disciples in verse 27 I like that Jesus tells Thomas to “Stop doubting and believe.” I like verse 29 because Jesus says “…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Through the reassurance that Jesus gives Thomas that he is Lord it helps me understand and grasp more of who Jesus was. Jesus gave Thomas the proof that he needed and through this scene being expressed in the Bible gives Christians today reassurance that Jesus is Lord. And that though our faith we will be blessed.

  5. It’s sad that we reduce our view of Thomas into a nickname given to him “doubting Thomas” from the one instance in which he doubts the resurrected Messiah. We seem to do this with many Biblical characters. Jonah is a repentant because he finally goes to Nineveh (but we overlook his attitude following his preaching), David is looked at as such a holy king (but he sinned just like the rest of us, sending someone to die in battle so he could be with his wife), even Judas…some argue that perhaps he could have repented for betraying Jesus, but he is looked at as being evil, a very black and white outlook.

    Thomas is looked at in such a negative light for his moment of doubt. But what if any of the disciples had switched places with him? If Thomas was with the disciples when Jesus had appeared to them, he of course would have been one of the believers. If any of the others had not been there, I would think that their reactions would have been much the same. I think many of us would have reacted the way that Thomas did. The resurrection was a miracle, and a miracle that was not expected of the Messiah. We are so quick to look down on others without really asking ourselves…would we do the same thing?

  6. I agree with John in that Thomas needed proof. The Jews often needed signs in order to believe; “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:22). The Jews needed miraculous signs to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Thomas was waiting to have proof in order to believe as well. Before this time God used signs to show that He was who He said he was, he used miracles to prove his validity in different situations. After Jesus appears to Thomas and Thomas declares Jesus God, Thomas leads the disciples with the realization of who Jesus really is. “Thomas’s words as a final word on who Jesus is: he is the ‘Lord and God’ of the reader, and that by believing that he is the Lord one can have eternal life in his name,” (Long). I find it interesting that after all this Jesus still does some “miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book,” (John 20:30). I do not fully understand why Jesus would do this after rising from the dead, what more could the disciples need as proof? However, it could just be that I do not understand how they truly required signs in order to believe since I have been born again into the dispensation of Grace.

  7. I agree with John that even though Thomas gets singled out in John 20, his reaction is really no different than that of the rest of the disciples. John 20:20 says that Jesus showed them his hands and side and then the disciples were overjoyed because they saw the Lord. It is the same for Thomas in verse 27. Jesus shows him his hands and his side and then Thomas believes. Thomas’ claim that Jesus is ‘my Lord and my God’ is a big statement that the author of John wants to emphasize. This shows the certainty of Jesus as Lord and Messiah. Strauss says, “The Gospel which began with ‘the Word was God’ climaxes with ‘my Lord and my God'” (Strauss 327). Thomas’ words serve as a major closing point to the book of John. It represents the point that Jesus is Lord.
    I find it interesting that Jesus mentions that those who believe without seeing are blessed. This is fitting as Jesus is no longer physically present and people are called to believe in his death and resurrection without physically seeing his hands and his side. So now the challenge for us is to believe that Jesus is Lord even though we cannot see him. Although we cannot see Jesus, the book of John is written so that we may ‘believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

  8. I’m going to lean on the side of Thomas being less of a doubter and more bold. I think if he was just away from the disciples because he had lost all faith that he wouldn’t have come back at all. And when we look at the other disciples it’s not like they believe with no prof either! When they were told Peter and John ran to the tomb to “see” if what they had been told was true. Thomas appears to want a little more proof, getting to physically touch Jesus but I still think he isn’t given a enough credit.

  9. I would lean a little to the side of perhaps Thomas having a “faith crisis” after the death of Christ. This may have been a situation in which his thinking goes from, “this guy, Christ, is awesome and powerful” to all of the the sudden being, “wait… he died? what now? There is such a change of what is going on. So when he needs proof after Jesus rises from the dead, it makes sense that he would ask for it.

  10. I don’t think Thomas was any different than the average believer in Christ. We see that Thomas has doubts with faith in Christ. Every great while I can admit that for stupids reasons I doubt mine. And through finding and and exhausting all the excuses, you find that there is one unbearable truth. The Truth of God, the truth of who Jesus was. And you can see that in the end (in John), Thomas believed who heartily, boldly, and finally that ‘…Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). I don’t think Thomas should be considered a skeptic. You should never be considered an outsider for not jumping on the bandwagon with everybody else. Thomas was waiting to have proof in order to believe as well. I find that a very acceptable excuse. Since in this time most people believed Jesus through what he did and taught and said.

  11. I really found interesting to read about the possibility that Thomas was bolder than the other disciples, and was being more bold than his peers. It is healthy to explore all possibilities, I cannot know what actually happened to Thomas during the period between Jesus death and resurrection. The fact that Thomas doubted I think is possibly because of his Jewish perspectives, ” If he believed Jesus was the Messiah and that the Messiah was not going to be crucified by the Romans, perhaps Jesus’ death caused him to doubt everything.” I know that I would probably act in the same manner if I was put into Thomas’ position. Out of all the disciples acts of betrayal and abandonment Thomas’ doubting is a human reaction to supernatural things.

  12. I think that there is a very strong possibility that Thomas really did begin to doubt Jesus. He may not have completely abandoned his faith, but he could have had doubts, especially because he wasn’t expecting Jesus to die. I think that Thomas’ exclamation of, “My Lord and my God!” show his new found faith in Jesus. Strauss also agrees that Thomas’ doubts were turned into faith, not that Thomas had so much faith that he just went about his daily business without being araid of being condemned (Strauss, 327). The purpose of the book of John is for everyone to confess Jesus as Lord and receive eternal life through Christ. I believe that this situation where Thomas confesses Jesus is Lord is shown as an example of what must be done. I think it also shows what must not be done, with the statement in verse 29, that the ones that believe and have not seen are blessed. We have to believe and confess without seeing.

  13. I can not imagine how Thomas must felt after all the other disciples saw Jesus and had this amazing experience with Him. People call Thomas, faithless, but there are a lot of times when I have heard other Christians talk about how one of their friends had this experience with the Lord, but that they do not believe it that it can happen to them. Sadly, they even believe that it is real. We all do this, myself included. We hear of God healing someone’s cancer, but we do not believe it with our own family member. We see God provide for someone’s car in a crazy way, but we do not believe that God can provide for our rent and so on.
    Let us learn from Thomas and have faith that Jesus will appear to us too.
    God is proud of our faith and when we express it to Him!
    Another thing that I notice in this story is that Thomas is not very encouraging to the other disciples.
    After the disciples told Thomas that they saw the Lord, Thomas response with unbelief and the need for proof.
    When I was around the age of three, I started to hear God’s voice. His voice sounded like little thoughts at first. Just like a gentle whisper talked about in 1 Kings 19. When I told my parents that I think God told me this or that, they would discourage me in that. They did not hear the Lord like I did, so because they did not understand they were fearful and confused. When others tell us that they hear from the Lord, let us never discourage them or put doubt in their minds. We are to encourage them and give them direction.

  14. It takes a lot to believe in something, especially something you have not seen for yourself. But that is what faith is. Putting your trust and whole self into something you have not seen. For most kids, especially this time of year, they put their faith into Santa because they have not seen him, but believe he will bring them presents. no one has seen Santa Claus, yet the children believe he comes. Some kids though do not believe because they have not seen him. This is just a metaphor because Santa is not real, but Jesus is. This is the same scenario. Thomas did not believe for he had not seen, yet today we have not seen hands with holes from nails, but we still believe. It is safe to say that some believe “Thomas was an evidentialist,” (Kostenberger, 175). He only believed what he did see, but this is not how you should live. We should live believing and not seeing. Hebrews says that, “now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see,” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). A believers, we should not live like doubting Thomas and believe with our hearts and have faith and hope that he is with us always. Faith is believing not seeing.

  15. In this story about Thomas and the faith he had about Jesus raising from the dead and how he didn’t believe, one thing that comes to my mind is that we blame Thomas for not believing that Jesus was alive. To us we think how he cannot believe after seeing all the miracle that he has done and such. But when it comes to it, I don’t blame him for not believing in him. We as people something really big and exciting happens and something really bad happens and it is hard for us to wrap our heads around something, it is hard to believe in that until we go and see it. So, in that way I think it’s easy to think about Thomas and how we could relate. In the same way, we live today and haven’t seen God, I think that we have to believe in God without seeing him and that is hard to do because we want to believe without seeing but it is also good in seeing and feeling in what we believe. So, hearing this story made me think about Thomas as a real man with real feelings to try and better understand why Thomas would want to feel and Touch Jesus in order to believe. We need to believe so that one day we can see and better understand God.

  16. When people lose someone very close to them, they might experience something like what Thomas may have experienced. It is the same thing when a person is taught something their whole life and then in one instant everything they had been taught was shattered. It would only make sense for Thomas to require some sort of physical evidence to prove that Jesus was alive. Thomas was human and he may not have fully understood until he saw Jesus with his own eyes and touched him with his own hands. However, after Thomas saw and felt Jesus on his own, he fully believed. Sometimes, we as Christians need some sort of reconfirmation to revive our faith. Although we cannot see and feel Jesus like Thomas, if we look hard for a sign of God’s love for us we will find it even if it is something small like the wonderful nature around us.

  17. The loss of a close friend or family member can make a person lose control. I think that’s what happened with Thomas. He was with Jesus for a while, he ate and traveled with Jesus hearing him teach and heal people. I think that after the death of Jesus Thomas felt extreme guilt and grief. And that the reason he wasn’t with the disciples is that he was grieving over the loss of his friend and teacher. I wonder if it is possible that Thomas wasn’t just experiencing a crisis of faith but that he was entering into the five stages of grief. And that he wasn’t with the other disciples because he was handling the death of Jesus differently than the other disciples. Thomas had an idea of what he thought the Messiah was going to do. And instead of Jesus kicking the Romans out of Israel and restoring Israel, the messiah was peace loving and killed on a cross by the Romans. And when this happened, I think that Thomas became angry with Jesus. And anger is the second stage in the five stages of grief. And eventually when the other disciples tell Thomas that Jesus has risen, he tells them that he won’t believe it until he puts his fingers in the holes where the nails were. And poke his hand through Jesus side where he was poked with the spear. And it isn’t until Jesus appears before Thomas and the other disciples that Thomas believes that Christ has risen.

  18. I agree with the response above that Thomas might have been so heartbroken about the loss to believe about the resurrection of Christ. The one thing that gets me is that others say “How could Thomas?”; but how could we blame Thomas when people we come into contact with every day don’t even believe that Jesus was the savior let alone resurrected? I think that the reason Thomas doubted that Christ rose was because the influence of the Jewish leaders, and people around him; they would talk about being released from bondage from the Romans but that didn’t happen. Thomas is a human that doubted and that is perfectly fine because the Father comes in and reconfirms, gives answers and comfort when it is needed.

  19. As mentioned in the previous two responses, my initial reaction was that, “maybe Thomas was so heartbroken by the physical loss of Jesus that he was unable to believe the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection”. When people lose someone close to them, there is a mourning period. As humans, we are imperfect, resulting in negative reactions out of emotion. In Thomas’ case, his words seemed harsh, especially when he said, “Unless I see…I will never believe” (John 20:25, ESV). If Thomas believed and trusted Jesus as the Messiah, how was he to doubt that Jesus had the power to conquer death? I think this is important to reflect on because as imperfect human beings, we are not immune to doubtful thoughts. In anyone’s relationship with God, they stumble. Jesus’ response of, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29) more than likely placed a conviction of Thomas’ heart. While Thomas was so distressed to have witnessed the death of Jesus, he was more than relieved to witness His resurrection. Thomas’ experience of doubting in this situation is so relevant to Christian’s even today. The disciples were obviously imperfect, but I think this story is most relatable to humans and their tendencies even within a relationship with God.

    • Another question that I had was, if the other disciples did not first see Jesus and someone told them that He had resurrected from the dead, would they have believed?

      • That’s really what happens in the Gospel of Luke. Both the women and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus report that they had seen Jesus, yetthe disciples were still not sure even after Jesus appears in the room with them!

  20. I am not sure that the why behind Thomas not being present the first time is not entirely significant; it is what Jesus says to him though when he does finally believe is significant. “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v. 29). This phrase would be considered an act of faith. After Jesus’ ascension, Jesus is not present in the flesh to anyone else. There is no excuse for unbelief. I can relate to Thomas in this moment and I think a lot of other believers could as well. We cannot see Jesus. We cannot see his scars like Thomas was able too. It is easy to doubt something you’ve never seen but we can see his holiness in creation and in the world. We can see his actions in scripture. We may have not seen him physically, but we can what he has done.
    You presented two ideas that may explain why Thomas was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples. The first one is likely but the fact that they did not explain that seems to be an indication that maybe that was not the reason. For him to do that would have taken an abundance of faith, not a lack thereof. The second reason seems to follow the trend that he is a doubter. This seems to fit a little better with what we know of him. Either way, the story of Thomas is important to us to know that we don’t need to have seen Jesus to believe in him.

  21. I want to specifically talk about the point that Professor Long makes which states, “On the other hand, perhaps Thomas experienced a “crisis of faith” when Jesus died. If he believed Jesus was the Messiah and that the Messiah was not going to be crucified by the Romans, perhaps Jesus’ death caused him to doubt everything. He may be in a state of denial, like Peter, but deeper.” When I read this point everything kind of clicked. It makes total sense. I grew up reading the story of doubting Thomas and it seems like everyone in the church scorns him or makes fun of him, but have we ever put ourselves in his place? I can not imagine being him during that time and getting told that someone you loved and respected above all else and got told by that specific person (in this case God) that he was the Messiah and then he dies. Our whole lives we have been taught and have seen that death is final, so in Thomass case I can see why he would doubt. To him death was final, no matter if he was the messiah which sounds terrible, but we are human; we were born with a sin filled nature. So when Thomas needs to feel Jesus, can you blame him? A dead man just came back to life! Like what?! That’s crazy! I am not trying to give Thomas an excuse, but I think it is important to remember when reading these biblical accounts that these individuals in the Bible are real people who were born with the same sin nature as me and you and your next door neighbor.

  22. The story about Thomas was very interesting, and a lot of these scriptures are very related to life application. It is very difficult when we lose a person that we love and we question why this happened. I know of someone who did not do well and their life took a disaster course and their faith decreased. Thomas struggled with Jesus’ death and more likely was in denial about the situation and he couldn’t make sense of it and wrap his head around it and so when Jesus rose from the dead it was way too hard for Thomas to believe and he wanted proof. Thomas’ reaction can be seen in us today. There are things that happen and we won’t believe it until we see it. Thomas being able to see Jesus might have made Thomas understand, and was very excited once he was able to see that it was Jesus. There have been many times where things have happened and I did not want to believe until I witnessed it. When I lost someone that was close to me it was very difficult to even understand. I had a hard time believing it and was in denial so long, but overtime had to understand that the person was gone.

  23. Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection. The Bible doesn’t really tell us why but, “Thomas seemed ready to die with Jesus in John 11, so it may be the case that he is willing to go about his life, almost daring the Jews to arrest him too” (Long). However, it is also possible that Thomas experienced a “crisis of faith.” He may have believed that the Messiah would not be crucified by the Romans causing him to have doubts about Jesus’ Messiahship. When the disciples tell Thomas that Jesus had risen, he did not believe them and wanted evidence. Nothing in Second Temple Period Judaism anticipated or believed that the Messiah would die and resurrect. It was not in the world view of the Jewish community including Thomas. “The disciples are making an extraordinary claim, that the Messiah intended to die and rise to eternal life” (Long). In order to truly believe this, they had to re-think everything that they had always believed. When Jesus appears to the disciples a second time, Jesus shows Thomas the holes in his hands, feet, and side. Thomas believes and confesses, “My Lord and my God.” John uses Thomas’ confession as a theological statement in his Gospel. John’s Gospel slowly reveals who Jesus is, “He is the ‘Lord and God’ of the reader, and that by believing that he is the Lord one can have eternal life in His name” (Long). Thomas is often talked about in a negative way because he doubted Jesus. But doubt is something that I believe all Christian have struggled with in their faith in some way, shape, or form.

  24. The story of the doubting Thomas is quite well known in the aspect of needing to see to believe. Personally I have heard pastors preach on this with the lesson that we should not rely on our sight to believe. For Thomas, he was a evidentialist which is nothing wrong about it in the sense of having faith based on reality instead of fantasy (Kōstenberger, p186-187). The only caution to this would be that God does not want a challenging attitude that sets constraints on Him. Another thing to note for Thomas was that during the Second Temple Period Judaism, no one would have foreseen the death of the Messiah and His resurrection to eternal life (Long, p155). Understandably, Thomas does not want to be swindled and wants to make sure Jesus is legit since He died and there was talk that He has resurrected.

    This reminds me of the movie Polar Express where the main character has doubts about Santa and wants to see him to believe. Like how the hobo on the train would say “you don’t wanna be bamboozled. You don’t wanna be led down the Brim roads bad. You don’t wanna be conned or have the wall pulled over your eyes..”

  25. I find it interesting that we have labeled Thomas as “doubting Thomas” even though he was the only one to truly confess that Jesus was God. Thomas may have had to see but so did the rest of them. I personally would not believe something that others do not fully believe themselves. I think we should take Thomas and see how we ought to trust and believe in Jesus. Everyone comes to the knowing and understanding of Christ differently. Thomas listened to Christ during his ministry and when the time came and Jesus was in front of Him he believed and knew that Jesus was Lord. We as Christians should understand that back then they did not have a Bible like us so their knowledge on the messiah was way less. So Thomas was a little prideful at first but he was the quickest and only one to fully understand that Christ was our Lord and Savior.

  26. Thomas’ skepticism is understandable. We have the benefit of looking on the events of the Gospel of John as events that have happened in the past, but Thomas lacked that benefit entirely. Instead, his last moments with his teacher of several years ended with Thomas abandoning him, only to discover later that he had been crucified. With no historical expectation that the Messiah would be raised from the dead it would be understandable for Thomas to assume that this was the end of the line as far as Jesus’ ministry was concerned (Long, 2012). While Jesus did predict his resurrection in places like John 2:19, John 2:22 makes it clear that the disciples, Thomas included, would not understand this until after the resurrection had been revealed. Furthermore, We learn in places like Mark 4:2 that Jesus liked to teach in parables, and thus sometimes the lessons behind his teachings might be lost on listeners. With all of this in consideration it is understandable for Thomas to take a I’ll believe it when I see it approach. While Thomas gets the bad reputation for doubting that Jesus had resurrect, most if not all of the disciples had had the same doubts until they saw Jesus themselves, while poor Thomas had missed out on this visitation. Thus it could be easy to see how he might think the others may be delusional, or perhaps pulling a cruel joke. Thomas gets a bad reputation from this account, but I seriously doubt that anyone else in his position would do much butter.

  27. I love the man that Thomas is in the Bible. He seems to be perhaps the most relatable disciple in the entire Bible. He gets a bad reputation by readers of the Word throughout history, and has been dubbed “doubting Thomas.” But I believe this quality that Thomas had was immensely refreshing. It makes him so much more relatable- it makes him human. Realizing that Thomas is simply human is a quality that is critical for us to realize. Imagine if you or I were in this situation- would we be so quick to believe that Jesus has truly been raised from dead? We get to live in a world today where we have the entirety of scripture at our fingertips, and years of study to back up it’s historical accuracy. But at the end of the days, an element of faith must come in. We must make a choice to believe in the resurrection of Christ- just like Thomas had that decision. And when Thomas finally believes, He breaks down and proclaims Jesus to be His Lord and His God. If we did not have Thomas’ example of faith, some of us may not have come to faith in Christ. His proclamation of Jesus being Lord and God is super significant, as it further hits home the reality of Jesus being the Son of God. And I am thankful to God that he used Thomas in this way.

  28. It can be easy to wonder why Thomas reacted the way that he did, that he refused to believe that Jesus rose from the dead without further evidence. However, if we were to personally experience what Thomas did, I think a lot of us would have responded in a similar way. Thinking about Thomas’s perspective, his Lord and close friend had recently died, so he was probably experiencing several different emotions. It makes sense that he would want physical proof for Jesus’ resurrection, so that he could no longer experience doubt or denial towards what had occurred. I can see why Thomas would get a bad reputation for doubting what the disciples told him about Jesus being resurrected, however, I think a lot of us would relate to Thomas had we experienced things from his point of view. As a result of eventually seeing Jesus in person, Thomas proclaims that Jesus is “Lord and God,” which is a major theme of the book of John, to inform the readers of Christ’s identity. Although Thomas was initially doubtful, God used the situation to reveal more about Himself to the disciples and eventually to the readers of the book of John. God used Thomas doubting Jesus as an opportunity to ultimately bring about His glory, and to show that following Christ requires having faith in what is unseen. As Jesus tells Thomas in John 8:29, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Through Thomas’ doubting, we learn that we do not need physical evidence to believe in Jesus’ resurrection, rather, we need faith to believe what God has done through Jesus.

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