John 20:29: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”
These words of the Risen Lord direct our attention to our faith.
It is important for us to confess our faith. We hear the message of His birth and we must say, “I believe…..” Now again we have heard the Easter messages. That is not enough. Do I believe?
Believers are blessed. Believers shall have life and not perish.
Thomas believed; the context explains how he made a beautiful confession of faith after he refused to believe. The disciples had seen the risen Lord and had received the Holy Spirit. With joy and conviction they conveyed the news to Thomas who was not present upon that first meeting of the disciples with the risen Lord. Their glad tiding, however, was not received. They repeated it again and again, “We have seen the Lord.” For a week Thomas was not impressed. He coldly stated that he had to have proof positive personally. He had to see and touch for himself. The testimony of others was not sufficient for him to believe…and to live and rejoice.
Thomas must have been in deep despair for he was one of the twelve, of the faithful ones. His Lord and Christ was crucified, was gone out of his life without giving him life and joy in the final complete sense. The marks in the hands and side of Jesus were signs of the cross to Thomas. That cross, the shame and death and curse, was a stumbling block to him. Before he could believe in the Christ as his Lord, as Lord over all things, his Lord, he must have satisfaction in his mind. There had to be harmony in his understanding. The cross had to become a necessity and a beauty for him. He had to be able to say, as an ambassador of Christ, “I preach Christ crucified.” If we understand this real problem of Thomas, we will not call him the doubting Thomas. He needed more than just the recognition of the risen Lord that the women and Mary had had. If it had been merely a problem of recognition, Thomas would not have stipulated these marks as requirements. He could have merely said that he would wait to see the Lord for himself, for he had many other marks to recognize Him.
Thomas had the problem of Job. Without an answer, he had no resurrection joy and blessing. For a week he lived close to the pit.
Notice, he did not say I do not believe! He said unless I will not. Jesus did not say he was an unbeliever. He said, “Become not faithless, but faithful.”
You and I often do not believe. We do not have life then. To ask ourselves, “do I believe?” arouses us to our calling, to our faithlessness to the Word, to our unbelief. Yet we cannot say, “I do not believe.” To come to such a confession would cut us off forever from the bread and water of life. Who dares to say in the midst of the church, “I do not believe in the resurrection”? For what would we believe in then? Is there any salvation outside of the resurrection? Is there any other name given under heaven?
But for Thomas, without resurrection knowledge and joy he was not an unbeliever, but there was danger. He could not say “I believe.” Can you and I say, “I believe”? Not of ourselves. By grace we say, “I believe, help thou my unbelief.”
After eight days the Lord appeared to Thomas. Thereupon Thomas said, “My Lord and my God.” Then he was blessed indeed with faith, by the inbreathing of the Spirit of Christ who irresistibly drew Thomas to Himself. He saw and believed. Not upon the basis of his own eyes and touch. Then the power is still in Thomas. But because of the power of Christ who gave power to the powerless Thomas.
Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.
We have not the physical presence of the Risen Lord. Yet we are blessed. The requirement of Thomas now does not hold any more. Jesus Himself changed that way. He sent His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We believe by His power and grace without seeing Him with our physical eye. So we are blessed, saved from the despair that Thomas was in.
Notice how Thomas was blessed. He saw the marks of the cross in the risen Lord. He received the Spirit. He was given power and authority to preach. His joy was full.
May our resurrection joy be full by faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.