Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reactions to the Ressurection: Thomas

Doubting Thomas (1879)
Carl Heinrich Bloch

one of the twelve,
called Didymus,
was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said unto him,
We have seen the Lord.
But he said unto them,
Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails,
and put my finger into the print of the nails,
and put my hand into his side,
I will not believe.
John 20:24-25 RV

Doubting Thomas was a term I knew before coming to the faith. I didn't know it was Christian term at all. The disciples tell Thomas of the risen Jesus when he arrives, and he doubts they are correct. He will need proof before he will believe Jesus has risen. Not only will need to see Jesus for himself, he will also need tactile proof. For it to be Jesus, he will need to touch the wounds from the nails, and the wound from his side. He will not be fooled but any wound. He needs to put his hand inside them. No fake wound is going to catch him out.

And after eight days again his disciples were within,
and Thomas with them.
Jesus cometh,
the doors being shut,
and stood in the midst,
and said,
Peace be unto you.
Then saith he to Thomas,
Reach hither thy finger,
and see my hands;
and reach hither thy hand,
and put it into my side:
and be not faithless,
but believing.
John 20:26-27 RV

Thomas gets his chance. Jesus offers him His hands and side for physical inspection. This is completely opposite to Mary Magdalene:
Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father
John 20:17 RV
It is more important for Jesus that Thomas believes, than not. If that takes physical proof, so be it. Jesus wants Thomas to believe.
Thomas answered and said unto him,
My Lord and my God.
John 20:28 RV
It seems that although Thomas did doubt, the appearance of Jesus, and His words, are enough. Not only are they enough, Thomas also recognises Jesus as God. He is first to do so.
Jesus saith unto him,
Because thou hast seen me,
thou hast believed:
blessed are they that have not seen,
and yet have believed.
John 20:29 RV
Jesus tells Thomas that those who have not seen, yet
believed are blessed. Both Thomas and Mary needed to see Jesus before they would believe that Jesus had risen. Are they not blessed? I think Mary recognised Jesus as The Son of God: her constant referrals to Him as "the Lord" make that clear. Yet, she was not expecting Him to rise from the dead. Her genuine concern at the empty tomb is not about Him rising and going off; it is about suspecting dodgy dealings. Thomas had been told by others that Jesus had risen, but would not believe until he touched Jesus' wounds. Some need more proof than others.
For Jesus, this is not a problem. As long as they get there at sometime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite depictions of the Savior because it captures Thomas' emotion at the realization that 'this is the Christ'.