A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, 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. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt 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 come to believe." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
I think that maybe Thomas has gotten a bad rap. Why do we call him “doubting Thomas” when the thing he does at this climactic moment in John is to believe?
You may recall that, just before this scene, we are told about an incident where all of the disciples – except Thomas – were witnesses to an incident in which Jesus, thought dead, suddenly appeared among them. Upon hearing the story, Thomas responded that he would have to touch Jesus’ wounds to believe. However, when Jesus appears again in this text, he no longer finds it necessary. He simply believes.
The Gospel of John will continue for one more Chapter, which contains a sort-of post-script that gets tagged on at the end. However, the main story concludes in Chapter 20 with a blessing for you and I. Like Thomas was before Jesus appeared for a second time, we are stuck with relying on witnesses to believe in Jesus’ Lordship, Kingship, and God-hood. We did not see the empty tomb, and Jesus has not appeared to us – at least not in the way he appeared to the disciples.
Just as the disciples are blessed by his life-giving presence, so we too are blessed when we can “see” Jesus for who he is, based on these accounts. John concludes by urging us to find life ourselves by hearing his story and believing that Jesus is the “Messiah” (a Jewish term for the person who would bring God’s justice into history) and the “Son of God” (a Greek term for the supreme human authority in the Earth).
For Reflection: How is the Easter story speaking to you today? In what ways has John helped you to better see and believe in Jesus, the King of Creation?