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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 4 - Light Overcomes Darkness
B - The Resurrection and Appearance of Christ (John 20:1 - 21:25)

3. Jesus appears to the disciples with Thomas (John 20:24-29)

JOHN 20:24-25
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Do not think that every critic is opposed to the Holy Spirit; and not everyone who rejects your witness is wayward or perishing. Here John shows that among the many events taking place in the forty days before Christ’s ascension, there was a peculiar one. This shows how grace creates faith in the human breast, not by works, intellect or logic, but by grace and mercy alone.

Thomas was a pessimist, seeing only the gloomy side of events. He had to probe to the depths of the matter in order to reach the plain truth (John 11:16; 14:5). He was thoughtful, solving issues mentally. He had seen in the death of Christ the loss of meaning in life. He became separated from the circle of disciples and did not see Jesus that first Sunday when Jesus appeared in the midst of his followers.

Thomas may have argued that the appearance was just a Satanic delusion – that an evil spirit had taken on the form of Christ to lead them astray. No surprise then, that he insisted on foolproof evidence to what had happened, that Jesus had come in person. He would not be convinced unless he felt the marks of the nail-prints. In this way, he bargained with God to believe, wishing to see before trusting.

So he returned to the company of disciples who were full of joy on account of the appearance of Christ to them. He, however, was sad, saying he wanted to be sure that Jesus had risen.

JOHN 20:26-28
26 After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be to you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

A week later, Jesus appeared to his disciples again. They were still afraid and the doors were locked. Christ’s body, risen from the dead, penetrated indoors noiselessly. He blessed them with his peace, offering pardon to his weak disciples.

Thomas saw his Lord with open eyes in wonder after hearing his voice. Jesus saw them all, his eyes piercing Thomas’ doubts with a divine look. He bid shrinking Thomas to touch him, unlike his command to Mary Magdalene, "Touch and feel, I am a genuine person, present among you." Jesus bid him not just to behold the marks of the nails but to "draw near and put your finger in the scars and believe."

He urged his hesitant disciple to overcome all his doubts. Jesus expects complete confidence from us, because he announced his cross, resurrection, session with God and his second coming, all for our benefit. He who denies these truths calls him a liar.

The Lord’s loving attitude broke Thomas down, and he whispered (as a summing up of his prayers and meditations) the greatest confession made by man to Jesus, "MY LORD AND MY GOD!". He realized, sadly longing for the truth, that Jesus was not the Son of God independent of his Father, he is Lord himself, having the fullness of deity in a body. God is one, not double. Thomas called Jesus God, and knew that this Holy One would not judge him for his unbelief, but bestow on him the grace of beholding the Lord himself. Thomas also called him Lord, and yielded his past and future wholly into his Savior’s hands, believing firmly what Jesus said in his Farewell Discourse. Brother, what do you say? Do you share in Thomas’ confession? Has the Risen One come towards you, so that you are awed by his majesty and have overcome your doubts and obstinacy? Cast yourself on his mercy and confess before him, "My Lord and my God."

PRAYER: We thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, because you did not reject doubting Thomas, but did reveal yourself to him. Accept our lives to be your own, and purge our tongues of all deceit.


  1. What does Thomas’ confession imply?


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