Updated: Apr 4, 2018
Jesus appears to doubting Thomas
24 Now Thomas (known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’
But he said to them, ‘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.’
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
29 Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
'The Incredulity of Saint Thomas' painted by Caravaggio in 1601.
Before we dismiss Thomas as the 'doubting Thomas' who lacked faith, there are preculiar details in the story we can reflect upon. Jesus satisfied all of Thomas' demands, though we don't know if Thomas really touched Jesus as he demanded. Notice Jesus never dismissed Thomas' lack of faith. He simply blessed those who believed without seeing. Also, although it seemed Thomas had doubted Jesus' resurrection, he was probably the only one in the Gospels who directly called Jesus 'God' (v.28).
"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."
1. Thomas specifically came up with a list of things he needed to see and touch (with gruesome details) in order to believe Jesus had risen. What do you notice about this list? Would you say it's a good list?
2. What could be the possible driving forces behind Thomas' demands to see and touch these?
(Think intellectually, relationally, spiritually, personally...)
What can we appreciate or relate to in Thomas?
3. Continuing the previous question, what about the emotional driving forces behind Thomas' demands? Have you experienced similar emotional drives in your faith? How do these emotions shape your relationship with Jesus?
4. v.26-27 Jesus entered the locked room, uninvited, proclaimed peace, and told (almost ordered) Thomas to see and touch his hands' nail marks and pierced side (signs of suffering) as Thomas had wanted. What do these tell us about Jesus Himself and how He relates to us?
5. How would you like to complete this statement today:
"Unless I _____________________________________________________ I would not believe."
What are the driving forces behind your statement?
What does it say about how you relate to Jesus?
Has Jesus satisfied it?