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Foundations of Our Faith 11: Jesus Appears to Thomas and Others

Foundations of Our Faith Day 11: Jesus Appears to Thomas and Others

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails … and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29, ESV)

After Jesus rose from the dead, there were at least 10 recorded appearances in His resurrected body to people or groups of people. These appearances were on various days and over a 40-day period. The likelihood is that there were other appearances that were not included in Scripture, but God saw fit to include these accounts in His Word. These appearances to many individuals gave strong evidence of His resurrection; many saw Him and many believed. Despite the popular saying that “seeing is believing,” many of us have not seen yet we do believe. Jesus even called those who would not see and yet believe “blessed.” 

This bring us to Thomas, known as the Doubter. He gets a bad rap for refusing to believe until he physically saw the Lord, but how often do we ourselves doubt the Lord? We doubt His ability to help us in certain situations, or we doubt His power, forgiveness, and the promises He’s made concerning us. The other disciples saw Jesus first, but Thomas had a hard time trusting the news from his fellow Christ-followers. They had come to him with the best possible news, but he refused to believe it unless Jesus appeared to him also. And he went even further than that—he must see the marks in His hands and the wound on His side before he could consider that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead! 

Thomas was struggling. Maybe he was angry that Jesus had died—He didn’t seem to be the Messiah after all! Maybe he was jealous that Jesus would appear to the others, but not when he was present. Maybe he had bought into the lies that he heard when Jesus was condemned and put to death. Whatever the case, Jesus loved and cared enough for Thomas to set things straight.

Can you imagine the guilt Thomas must’ve felt when Jesus did appear to him with the others, singling him out and exposing his previous words and thoughts? The disciples didn’t have to tell Jesus what Thomas had said; because He is God, He already knew! But He wanted to assure Thomas and then use him in spreading the good news of the gospel, so He urged Thomas to come close and touch His hands and His side. In a moment, Thomas believed, calling Him “My Lord, and My God!” 

Do you sometimes lose faith in God? Have you doubted His love and care for you? Do you question His plans and purposes, thinking He must be making a mistake? Jesus knows our hearts and, as with Thomas, He has plans for us. He wants us to know Him and trust Him. While we can’t physically reach out and touch His scars, we can spend time in His Word and in His presence. When we do, something wonderful happens: He makes Himself known to us. We don’t need to doubt Him; He can be fully trusted, even when things don’t seem clear or even good! 

Many of us can relate to Thomas as we’ve had our own struggles with faith along our journey. But the truth we are searching for can be found in God’s Word. Jesus came into the world for the purpose of rescuing mankind from the judgment of sin, laying down His life for us, and then taking it back and rising again to life. He appeared to many who would give witness to this truth. Someday, we ourselves will see the scars on His precious body and, face to face, give Him the worship and thanksgiving we owe Him. This is the hope we possess as God’s children. As I get further along in life’s journey, it’s something I long for more and more.

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