The Thomas Doubt Affair: Day Eight, The Encounter
“Put your finger here, and see my hands”
Sunday after the Resurrection, Jerusalem circa 30 AD
It’s the end of a long arduous week for the disciple Thomas and for his fellow disciples and friends. So many questions must have been asked, so many debates and arguments, every theory espoused, every option analyzed… there could have been so much tension and apprehension and yet in the end we see grace. They are still altogether.
Did any of them know what was coming the Sunday after? Probably not. Though there seems to be some anticipation on the part of Peter, John and the others.
Jesus must have assured them he would come back again and so they may have said to themselves… let’s wait in the same place together. John says they were “inside again”. But this time with Thomas!
The doors are locked… fear of the Temple Guards? …of the Roman Guard? Probably. Doors were locked first time, right?
And then it happens. Not through the door or window but right through whatever Jesus appears. He stands among them. After an initial rumble of astonishment the room became still and silent awaiting Jesus to speak. The apostle John describes it this way.
26 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.”
Words that were a healing balm after such a week. Peace falls on the group. All eyes are glued to the smiling Galilean, the resurrected Lord. Then with a look of concern he turns and Thomas’ eyes catch his.
27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:26-28
Thomas does not hesitate to respond not with probing fingers and examining eyes but with the testimony of testimonies! He doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me wait so long!” or “Was I not worthy enough to see you last Sunday!?!” or “What misery you put me through!”
When we see the Lord face to face we too will be overcome not with our questions and our hurts but with His glorious presence. The awesomeness of the moment is captured for us. This man who questions and challenges like the best of any 21st Century skeptic has nothing to say but “My Lord and My God”.
Every time I read this I cannot picture it without seeing the Doubting One falling to his knees in joyful astonishment. Eyes wide open rapidly filling with tears of relief and amazement.
“My Lord and my God!”
This is not an “OMG it’s you!” exclamation. It is a confession of one who has been with Jesus throughout his ministry, who has seen the love, the compassion, the truth and the power of his presence, the power of the miracles and now the power of the resurrection. “Let us go that we may die too” rings hollow in the face of the Risen Saviour.
Jesus is Lord and Jesus is God come in the flesh. The cross was the way to salvation. The resurrection guaranteeing its efficacy and power. This moment is emblazoning itself on his heart and mind. The disciples stand in rapture wanting to cheer and scream but somehow this has knocked their breath away.
For the sake of many Thomas has not settled for easy believism. And yet right now he must be a little ashamed of his lack of faith. It all seems quite obvious and quite clear and logical. Jesus had to die, the sinless sacrifice. Thomas cannot help but see this truth.
But at this moment everything fades as he gazes upon the Incarnate One, Jesus, risen from the dead and Thomas falls to his knees and worships!