John 20:24–28 (NKJV)
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I 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.”
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Notice that Thomas says that he will not believe unless he sees in His hands the print of the nails and puts his finger into them and puts his hands into His side. Then he doesn’t even touch anything. What’s up with that?
Thomas not actually touching Jesus is a perfect portrait of the emotional power of seeing the resurrected Lord. Remember, Jesus wasn’t present when Thomas announced his doubts and made his rather extreme request.
So, when Jesus told Thomas to touch His wounds, it showed that He knew what Thomas had said. That spoke to the fact that Jesus isn’t just anyone; He is Lord.
And Jesus telling Thomas to, ”reach your hand here, and put it into My side,” showed that He wasn’t a spirit or a ghost. He was physically there. That triggered a seismic shift in Thomas’s attitude, and he blurted out in ecstasy, “My Lord and my God!”
The presence of the risen Lord was what Thomas really needed.
Today’s passage gives us a feel for how the emotions of those eyewitnesses turned on a dime. When Jesus died, the disciples’ hopes and dreams collapsed. They were at a low point. Thomas’s severe doubts mirrored everyone’s depression.
Then Jesus showed up.
But suppose Jesus had been, so to speak, “lying on a gurney with tubes sticking out of Him.” Thomas’s reaction would have been completely different. That’s D. F. Strauss’s point.
A barely resuscitated Christ wouldn’t have inspired anyone to move mountains.
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