JOHN 20:24-31 JESUS SAID TO HIM, “THOMAS, BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEN ME, YOU HAVE BELIEVED. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED.”

3May

John 20:24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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." 26And 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!" 27 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." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

 

The disciples keep on telling Thomas that they have seen the Lord, but Thomas refuses to believe unless he sees for himself.  Remember he is only asking for what the others have already experienced.  So, we will see Jesus make a personal appearance eight days later so that Thomas can see Him and believe. Jesus offers for Thomas to put his finger in His side and in hands where they have been pierced by the nails that held him to the cross.  Then Thomas makes that greatest of all confessions of faith when He says My Lord and my God.  Jesus tells Thomas he is blessed because He saw and believed, but there is a greater blessing for those who just take it by faith that He rose from the grave. He finishes up the chapter by giving us the purpose statement of the whole book of John. He wrote about the seven signs that we might trust in Christ and have eternal life forever because of Jesus.

John's previous pictures of this disciple present him as a loyal and courageous, though a somewhat pessimistic, follower of Jesus. His more common identification as a doubter comes only from the present event. Thomas had no doubts that Jesus had died. This is another evidence that Jesus really did die.

The Greek text clarifies that the other disciples kept saying (Gr. elegon, imperfect tense) that Jesus was alive. In spite of this repeated verbal testimony by those who knew Him best, Thomas refused to believe (cf. 4:48). He had become so thoroughly convinced that Jesus was dead, as evidenced by his references to Jesus' wounds, that he could not see how Jesus' crucifixion could be overcome.

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. Joh 11:16

How much Thomas missed because he did not meet with the other disciples on the Lord's Day

Heb.10:22-25 

He had to endure a whole week of fear and unbelief unnecessarily.

 25 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."

The disciples seem to have been convinced of our Lord’s resurrection, except for Thomas who was not there. He did not see the resurrected Lord, nor did he behold the Savior’s wounded hands and side. And so it was that when Thomas was told that Jesus had appeared to them, he refused to believe. He insisted that in order for him to believe, he would have to see Jesus with his own eyes. He would have to personally inspect the Lord’s nail-pierced hands and His pierced side. Only then would he believe. Before we become too harsh with Thomas, let me remind you that the other disciples did not believe until they saw, either. Thomas is really demanding to see the same things that convinced the others. He is not asking for anything more than what the others saw.

Eight days passed. Apparently Jesus did not appear to any of His disciples during this period of time.

 26 ¶ 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!"

Jesus again materialized in the presence of these disciples as He had a week earlier (v. 19). He also repeated His benediction (v. 21). Perhaps Jesus did these things because the disciples had told Thomas that He had appeared this way and had said these things. This would have bolstered Thomas' faith.

 27 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." 1Jo 1:1

Jesus knew what Thomas had said even though He had not been physically present when he had said it. This is further proof of Jesus' deity. The purpose of this test was not just to satisfy Thomas' curiosity, however. It was to bring him to faith that Jesus was the resurrected Messiah.

When Jesus appears to Thomas we have this road of unbelief that goes into a road of belief.  And, again, John’s whole effort is to show how people come to faith and believe in Christ.  Thomas had heard the report.  In fact, the text, the word “see” is a very important verb all the way through this whole story.  They had seen Him.  They had seen the Lord.  “I’m not going to believe until I can see.”  It’s like I’m putting the finger in the nail print.  Until I can see, I won’t believe.  That’s the whole context that John’s setting up for us.  Thomas is a thoroughly a skeptic.

Now, we often call him “Doubting Thomas” and we want to be careful with that.  We want to be careful of overstating the case of any of the disciples.  I’ve encouraged all of us not to sort of wail on Peter and we’ll see Peter one day.  And I don’t want to wail on Thomas because we’re going to see Thomas one day; and I think Thomas is given to us for all of us who have that little skeptic, unconvinced - Thomas is the spiritual Missouri.

 “Unless you show me, I’m not going to believe you.  I’ve got to see it with my own eyes before I believe it.  I don’t believe this thing.”

 And the Sunday after resurrection Sunday, the disciples are together, Thomas is now with them, they’ve tried to convince him, “He still won’t believe.”

 I think the more profound part of this is not when Jesus says, “Reach here.”  Not that He shows Himself to Thomas.  I think the profound part is He knew what Thomas had said.  In one sense, that’s more profound than the miracle, if you will.

 Now, play this one out if you want to get a little nervous.  If Jesus Christ knew Thomas’ doubt, does He know yours?  Does He know the sin that you and I toy with?  Does He know the fears and the skepticism and the lust of our heart and the lust of our eyes and the pride of our life?  Seems to me it’s a pretty good case for omniscience.  I don’t necessarily like it, but I believe it and I believe that’s one of the main lessons He wants us to see.

 Well, Thomas’ confession is really unrestrained.  He just sort of blurts out, “My Lord and My God!”  And there’s nothing in the text that tells us what he did.  In other words, we don’t know if Jesus took his hand and poked his finger in His own hand.  Or if Thomas said, “Okay, let me check this out.”

In fact, I think the text is intentionally blank with Thomas’ physical process because whatever you’d have done, that’s what he did.  In other words, Christ is sort of meeting and condescending to Thomas and I think He does to you and me, too, in our doubts.  So, we don’t know precisely what he does, but his response is powerful.

Immediately, Jesus turns His attention to Thomas. He summons Thomas to come and to put his finger where the nails had pierced His hands, and to feel His side where the spear had pierced it. He challenged Thomas to forsake his unbelief and to believe.

Since John does not tell us that Thomas actually felt the wounds of our Lord, it may well be that after seeing Jesus alive he no longer required this proof. It may have taken this sight to convince Thomas, but once convinced, Thomas got it right. He does not merely profess a belief that Jesus has risen from the dead. Thomas professes to believe in what the resurrection proved—that Jesus was God, and that He was Lord (verse 28). Thomas now has it right.

 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

For a Jew to call another human being "my Lord and my God" was blasphemy under normal circumstances (cf. 10:33). Yet that is precisely who Thomas believed Jesus was. It is also who John presented Jesus as being throughout this Gospel. Both titles were titles of deity in the Old Testament. Thomas had come to believe that Jesus was his lord in a fuller sense than before, and he now believed that Jesus was fully God.

In fact, it is perhaps the climax of the entire Gospel of John, that one sentence.  “My Lord and my God!”

 The first person pronoun is unusual when you talk about my Lord and my God.  In fact, you won’t find it in the Bible, except under Thomas’ declaration.  It’s one of the greatest “Aha’s” in all the Scripture.  And it serves a wonderful purpose the way John orchestrates His Gospel and puts it all together.

The  repeated  pronoun  my  does  not  diminish  the universality of Jesus' lordship and deity, but it ensures that Thomas' words are a personal confession of faith. Thomas thereby not only displays his faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but points to its deepest meaning; it is nothing less than the revelation of who Jesus Christ is. The most unyielding sceptic has given to us the most profound confession."

Now Thomas believed as his fellow disciples had come to believe (cf. v.25). His confession is a model that John presented for all future disciples. It is the high point of this Gospel (cf. 1:1, 14, 18).

John's witnesses to Jesus' deity

  1. John the Baptist “This is the Chosen One [literally, “Son”] of God” (1:34)
  2. Nathaniel              “You are the Son of God” (1:49)
  3. Peter                             “You are the Holy One of God!” (6:69)
  4. Martha “You are the Christ, the Son of God” (11:27)
  5. Thomas                             “My Lord and my God!” (20:28)
  6. John the Apostle    “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (20:31)
  7. Jesus                            “I am the Son of God” (10:36; see also 4:26; 8:58)

Nobody has previously addressed Jesus like this. It marks a leap of faith. In the moment that he came to see that Jesus was  indeed  risen  from  the  dead  Thomas  came  to  see something of what that implied. Mere men do not rise from the dead in this fashion.  The One who was now so obviously alive, although he had died, could be addressed in the language of adoring worship."

I want you to notice Jesus’ response to Him.

 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 2Co 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.;

It confirmed the reality of Thomas' belief, and it prepared for the beatitude that followed (cf. 13:17). "Blessed" (Gr. makarios) does more than just describe the person in view as happy. It also declares him or her acceptable to God (cf. Matt. 5:3-12).

Jesus pronounces a blessing upon those who don’t get to see and yet have faith in Him.  Jesus is saying, “It’s a good thing that you believe, Thomas, as a result of the sign.  But it’s a blessed thing if you believe and you don’t get to see the proof of the thing that you want proven.”

And so we see God in His grace condescending to Thomas but also God in His grace telling us that not all of us are going to get to see the things that would cast our doubts aside.

Most believers have believed on Jesus because of sufficient evidence without the physical confirmation that Thomas required (cf. v. 8; 1 Pet.1:8-9). Those were the people whom Jesus had in view when He made this statement. This beatitude does not make believers who live after Jesus' ascension superior to those who saw Him in the flesh. Rather it guarantees their blessing by God.

When Jesus makes that blessing statement, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe,” He Absolutely had us in mind. He’s thinking of those who throughout the centuries would believe without seeing the resurrection.

"Thomas's declaration is the last assertion of personal faith recorded in this Gospel. It marks the climax of the book because it presents Christ as the risen Lord, victorious over sin, sorrow, doubt, and death. It also presents the faith that accepts not only the truth of what Jesus said but also the actuality of what he was—the Son of God. In the experience of Thomas, the writer has shown how belief comes to maturity and how it changes the entire direction of an individual life."

"The growth of belief depicted in the Gospel of John thus moves from an initial acceptance on the testimony of another to a personal knowledge marked by loyalty, service, and worship; from assumption of the historicity and integrity of Jesus to a personal trust in Him; from an outward profession to an inward reality; from practicing His teachings to acknowledging His lordship over life. Full belief may not be attained instantly; yet the initial and tentative belief is not to be despised."

Based on a story of faith.  Based again on the intrinsic power of the Gospel story.  That He lived, He died, He was buried and He came back from the grave.  And those who trust in that are extraordinarily blessed. There is compelling evidence for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; but ultimately, even with all of that evidence -

It comes down to faith.

Reviewing what it would take to cover something like this up.  It’s impossible, to cover something like that up.  And to think about these eleven inept men who’ve run away at the fear of being somehow associated with Jesus a couple of days before are now so emboldened to steal the body and cover it up.  Talk about the extraordinary leap of faith.  It takes more imagination and fiction to think they could pull that off than that Christ really came back from the dead.

And the Gospel writers don‘t say it, but we have to be sure that there were many who had a compelling desire to produce the body and demonstrate that this rumor going around that Jesus had been resurrected was just that, a rumor.  But no one was able to demonstrate.

 Well, from Caiaphas on down, the most powerful, political religious group of men could not produce a body.  And you know what?  No one ever will.

Think about Lee Strobel, the Chicago journalist who has written a number of books to provide evidence for the reality of Christ, the truth of the Scriptures.  And he wrote a book on the case for the cross where he examines the evidence.  And as wild as it may be to consider it, there’s no conclusion you can come to that makes any more sense than that Jesus is who He says He was and He was raised from the dead.  It’s just one piece of evidence after another.

1Pe 1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.

Although you’ve not seen Him, you love Him.  You don’t see Him now, but you believe in Him.  And this is Peter.  This is the Peter who ran away and three times denied His Lord.  And I’ve got to believe Peter is in the room when He appears again with Thomas.  And I wonder if in the inspired movement of the Spirit of God when these words are penned, if all is not meant for us to piece together. “You’ve not seen Him, but you love Him.  You’ve not seen Him but you believe in Him.”  And you’re blessed in that process. 

If you add up the Synoptics you have thirty-five miracles, little debate on the exact number, but thirty-five miracles, signs, that Jesus performed, John records only seven key ones.

Now get the flow of the book.  It’s very important.  They’ve not seen the risen Christ.  They’re looking for the body.  The Christ appears resurrected.  The fear is turned to joy.  Doubting individuals are convinced.  Their doubt is now taken away.  He really believes and Jesus says, “When you go out, you proclaim forgiveness as part of this gospel message.  You teach the people that the covenant, the new covenant, provides for forgiveness.  That’s what this is all about.”

 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;  Joh 21:25

 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. Lu 1:4; Joh 3:15-16; 5:24; 1Pe 1:8-9(NKJV)

It’s okay if you saw and believed, but you’re blessed if you believe and you didn’t get to see.  And then John says, “These signs that Jesus has done, a lot more of them happened, but these were written so you’ll believe.”

What does he want for us to believe?  The signs.  John the Gospel writer has said now for twenty chapters, he said, “I wrote all this so that you’ll believe.  And I punctuated it with these miracles so that you’ll believe.”

Jesus even said, “If someone comes back from the dead they won’t believe.”

But John says, “I want to record these signs so that you’ll believe.”

When Jesus Christ performs a miracle it’s always for a purpose.  The word sign is a stem of signifying.  The sign signifies something.  Take for example the blind man, John nine.  He’s blind from birth.  What’s the point?  Jesus has power over creation.  Sure.  That’s not the real point.  The real point is all of us are blind and we need new sight and Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.  I am the one who gives you new sight.  I create new hearts.  I create new eyes.  I create new people.” 
That’s what Jesus’ message is.  So the sign of the blind man being cured, being given new eyes, is not just a, “Wow!  He cured somebody.”  It’s, we’re all spiritually blind and we need curing.  Are you with me?  So John says, “All these signs signify something about Christ and our condition and they’re written so you and I will believe.”

A SUMMARY OF THE SEVEN SIGNS IN JOHN

Sign

Significance

Belief

Unbelief

Reference

Changing water to wine

Jesus' power over life,(source)

The disciples

 

2:1-11

Healing the official's son

Jesus' power over distance

The official and his household

 

4:46-54

Healing the paralytic

Jesus' power over time

The paralytic?

The Jews

5:1-9

Feeding the 5,000

Jesus' power over quantity

Some people in the crowd

 

6:1-15

Walking on the water

Jesus' power over nature

The disciples

 

6:16-21

Healing a man born blind

Jesus' power over creation and misfortune

The blind man

The Pharisees

9:1-12

Raising Lazarus

Jesus' power over death

Martha, Mary, and many Jews

The Jewish Authorities

11:1-16

His presentation of Jesus as the divine Son of God certainly has universal application.

"There cannot be any doubt but that John conceived of Jesus as the very incarnation of God."

John's purpose was not academic. It was not simply that people might believe intellectually that Jesus is the divine Messiah. It was rather that they might believe those foundational truths so they could possess and experience the life of God fully (cf. 10:10). This divine life affects the whole person, not just the intellect. Moreover it affects him or her forever, not just during that person's present lifetime.

Let’s look at a couple of lessons

John's clear purpose statement concludes the body of this Gospel.

  1. The graveside can bring incredible grief in life, but the faith of the believer moves on beyond the grave.

We’re separated and we miss people bitterly because we love them.”
That’s what death is, a separation, right?  And we long to see them.  And it’s very common for people to dream about a reunion and I think Mary is sort of that person.  She’s hanging on and she’s hurt and Jesus says, “Mary.”
And she turns.  The point of that:  turn away from the graveside and see the resurrection.  Turn away from your grief and see life is beyond the grave, right?  And we must do the same as we process through our grief.  Grief is tough, it’s not meant to be simple.  It’s tough.  But the believer in Christ has hope that the world doesn’t have.

  1. Suffering is universal, misery is optional.”
    Some of you know the name Charles Wedemeyer.  He was a very successful coach who is now a quadriplegic and can’t even speak.  One hundred percent dependent upon other people.  And he says, through her interpretation, “Suffering is universal, misery is optional.”
    And, you know, all of us are going to suffer and hurt and grieve in life, but to remain miserable is an option and the believer in Christ must look beyond the circumstances and say, “You know, this earth is a rotten place sometimes.  My faith is in the next life.”

      God’s peace only comes through Christ.  John fourteen to John sixteen Christ had gone at length to say, “My peace I leave with you.  Not as the world do I give, but my peace I give to you.  Peace be with you.”
    Earlier it said his spirit was troubled and He says, “I’m going to give you peace.”  Three times in this text, “Peace be with you.  Peace be with you.  Peace.”

They’re afraid of the Jews, they are fearfully grieving their loss.  “Peace be with you.  Peace.”  He’s dispelling their anxiety. 

Isa 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Ps 4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Phil 4:6-9 Paul says a peace that surpasses all comprehension that will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.  How many of us have never even come close to understanding that?  And that’s the resurrection peace that Christ gives. 

  1. Jesus Knows Everything - If Jesus Christ knew Thomas’ doubt, does He know yours? Does He know the sin that you and I toy with? He knows the fears and the skepticism and the lust of our heart and the lust of our eyes and the pride of our life?
  2. "Thomas's declaration of personal faith marks the climax of the book because it presents Christ as the risen Lord, victorious over sin, sorrow, doubt, and death. It is our example. Romans 10.9-11
  3. What proof do you seek? 

See, the reasons we don’t believe, the reasons we doubt are not because we’re so smart or clever.  The reason we doubt is because if we believe, we therefore must submit and obey.  And that’s not fun.  It’s not fun to do the right thing when sin wants to do the wrong thing.  But the believer in Jesus Christ submits and he says, “You know, God, I don’t understand it all, but by Your grace and kindness I’m going to follow You even when I can’t see to believe, I believe You.”

Mark chapter nine.  The man who has brought his seizure ridden epileptic demonized son to the disciples who can’t do anything for him.  Jesus comes back with Peter, James and John from the mount of transfiguration.  An extraordinary passage, where the man wants to believe but what great honesty.  “Help me in my unbelief.  I want to believe you.”
And Jesus doesn’t condemn him Or shame him or anything, Or say, “What kind of faith is this?”  In fact, the message is really a double-edged message because He says, “Oh unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you?”  That precedes His comment to the father.  I think His primary target is the disciples.
It’s like when you discipline one child in front of your whole family.  You’re telling them all the same issue, but the one’s on the hot seat.  And Christ is saying to you, “Don’t you get it?  This is not your power.  This is not you.  You have to move beyond that.”
And with a few words the Lord does a miracle of healing.
Would we say to Jesus, “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.” I hope so.  I often do.  I want to believe Him, I hope to believe.
And belief and faith are not the little engine that could.  It’s not, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” and if I exercise enough of that faith, then God will come through.  Faith is confident assurance of things hoped for.  Meaning, I want this outcome.  With a conviction of things not yet seen.  I don’t know the outcome, I don’t know the verdict.  So I’m trusting Christ, I’m believing in Him, I’m hoping for this outcome.  I’m convicted in the sense I’m planted, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.
And ultimately your faith is not in the outcome, it is in the one who controls the outcome

 Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.

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“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

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