Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ John 20:24-29 (NIV)
In the previous post it was pointed out that despite being with Jesus and seeing him perform many miracles some people would not believe in him.
The incident recorded in John 20 happened after the resurrection. Thomas had been told that Jesus had appeared to the disciples, but as Thomas wasn’t there and he hadn’t seen Jesus for himself, he didn’t believe them. Thomas had been close to Jesus over the three years of his ministry and had seen the miracles, he had also gotten to know the other disciples and perhaps he should have trusted them.
A week later Jesus appeared again to the disciples, including Thomas, and this time it was impossible for Thomas to ignore the evidence. Jesus singled him out and told him not to doubt, but to believe. Thomas’ response is not just to believe that Jesus is alive, but that he is both Lord and God. Thomas is often known as ‘Doubting Thomas’, which seems very unfair in light of his affirmation.
While Jesus commends Thomas for his belief, he reserves his blessing for those who have not seen, yet have believed:
Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
Some people see, but don’t really see. Others don’t see, yet actually do see.