Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
NOW THOMAS (CALLED DIDYMUS), ONE OF THE TWELVE, was not with the disciples when Jesus appeared in their midst on Easter Sunday night. In desperation Thomas seems to have given up the hope that Jesus could have been the Messiah and to have avoided the company of the others. Consequently, the rumors of Jesus' resurrection aid not find him with the others on Easter Sunday. Perhaps it was the excitement generated by the resurrection accounts that repulsed him because his hopes for the establishment of the kingdom of God were all but dead. Poor Thomas, how much he lost by not continuing in the company of the believers!
One or the other of the disciples must have felt it his duty to seek him out personally to tell him of the resurrection. Was he now convinced? Far from it! He replied, "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."
A week later Jesus' disciples were gathered in that same house again, and this time Thomas was with them. Was it just his curiosity that brought him here? No! Hadn't Jesus assured Peter that he had prayed that his faith would not fail? Do you suppose he was less concerned about Thomas? Then it happened again. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
We can't even begin to imagine how Thomas felt now. For Jesus turned to Thomas and said, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and touch my side. Stop doubting and believe!" Poor Thomas! - No, blessed Thomas! Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Dear reader, these words of Jesus were not only addressed to Thomas. but they were also recorded for your benefit. Without your having seers the resurrected Lord, you are to believe the Spirit-attended testimony of the apostles that Jesus the Crucified did indeed rise from the dead, for he is indeed the Son of God and your Savior. Oh, how blessed you are in this life because of your faith, and in the life to come when you will see Him as he is.
But why does Jesus say to Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed?" Now he had seen Jesus alive, but what was it that he now believed? - What he confessed when he saw Jesus alive: "My Lord and my God!" Yes, all the apostles had to see Jesus alive so that they could testify that to all the world. That was their office: to be witnesses of the resurrected Christ.
Oh yes, Thomas believed now, believed what the Scriptures said about the necessity of the Messiah's suffering and death and his resurrection. He believed that Jesus was the Lord Jehovah who had become man to suffer and die in atonement for man's sin and who now had risen from the dead. Thomas firmly believed that now and that is why he said to Jesus: "My Lord and my God!" He believed that the man Jesus with whom he had spent three years and who a few brief days previously had died on the cross and lain in the tomb and whom he now saw alive, that this man was indeed the prophesied Messiah, the Christ, his God and Lord.
Was this not faith, belief? Could this be seen? Yes, and he also believed that Christ was his dear Savior, for he hailed him as his Lord and God. This was because he believed what the Bible said and what he heard Jesus say on so many previous occasions. And in this believing confidence his faith was perfected.
But Jesus did condemn the sin of Thomas: that he only believed when he saw Jesus alive. It is true that everything depends on Jesus' resurrection from the dead. If Jesus did not arise from the dead, as we have already noted, then our faith in him is futile and to no purpose. But Thomas should have believed the resurrection of Jesus before he saw the resurrected Jesus. How often had he not heard Jesus speak not only of his suffering and death and of its necessity, but also that he would rise from the dead. There were also prophecies in the Bible concerning it. ' The women had reported that they, had seen Jesus alive and one or the other of his fellow disciples must have told him about Jesus' appearance in their midst on the evening of his resurrection. Yes, he certainly was "doubting Thomas" because he refused to believe in Jesus' resurrection before he himself had seen Jesus alive.
Oh, don't you be a doubting Thomas, in matters of faith, dear reader. Believe the Bible and the testimony of the eyewitnesses of Jesus' resurrection. Then it will be easier for you to confess with Thomas regarding Jesus that he is indeed your Lord and your God.
When Thomas afterward had heard
That Jesus had fulfilled His word,
He doubted if it were the Lord:
Alleluia! "My hands, my feet, my body, see;
"And doubt not, but believe in Me":
No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
Thou art my Lord and God," he cried:
(TLH 208, 5-7)