THE FAITH OF THOMAS
19On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “PEACE BE WITH YOU.”
20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21Jesus said to them again, “PEACE BE WITH YOU. AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME, EVEN SO I AM SENDING YOU.”
22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.
23IF YOU FORGIVE THE SINS OF ANY, THEY ARE FORGIVEN THEM; IF YOU WITHHOLD FORGIVENESS FROM ANY, IT IS WITHHELD.”
24Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “PEACE BE WITH YOU.”
27Then he said to Thomas, “PUT YOUR FINGER HERE, AND SEE MY HANDS; AND PUT OUT YOUR HAND, AND PLACE IT IN MY SIDE. DO NOT DISBELIEVE, BUT BELIEVE.”
28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
29Jesus said to him, “HAVE YOU BELIEVED BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEN ME? BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED.”
30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
On the same Sunday of resurrection, after Peter and John had seen the empty tomb of Lord Jesus, following the report of the women who had seen Jesus resurrected; Jesus appeared for first time to a whole group of his disciples in Jerusalem, who together with the Twelve Apostles, were hiding from the Jews in fear.
There were in a house, which most probably was the same place where the Holy Spirit descended for the first time, almost over month after; and where they celebrated the last supper, known in both cases as the ‘upper room’ (Mark 14:15; Acts 1:1-13).
There were the Eleven Apostles, Mary Magdalene, certainly his Mother Mary with John the Apostle who became responsible for her; plus other men, women and children who were hiding in fear together (Luke:24:9, 33), and when Lord Jesus appeared that evening for the first time, all of them were surprised for seeing their Lord risen. That evening, Jesus conferred officially to his congregation of believers, to all those present, the authority to absolve sins in His Name (John 20:22-23).
Many wrongly think, that Jesus conferred this power only to the Apostles, but a careful reading of the same events in Luke confirms the opposite (Luke 24:9, 33, 36). Jesus gave the authority to forgive, not specific sins, but to absolve a man or a woman who come to Him in faith, and repentance, from all his guilt, in basis of his faith in Jesus’s atonement, and according to God’s will (John 20:22-23), to the whole congregation of believers, men, women and children, who perform this under the authority of Christ, when they announce forgiveness of sins every time they announce the Gospel or Baptize someone; and not the all the apostles either.
On that occasion, one of the Eleven, Thomas, had not been present, and he doubted the report from his companions who declared to have seen Jesus alive again, most probably rejecting it as a product of their imagination, than a lie; and that would explain why he said ‘unless I place my finger’, and not ‘unless I see Him’, since it was a matter of establishing physical reality, and not a spiritual vision of Him.
A week later from his stubborn rejection, Jesus appeared again, and at this time, He invited Thomas to do what he wanted, and make sure that He had resurrected physically, overcoming the feared death (John 20:27), and invited Thomas, by saying: “BELIEVE”.
Jesus praised the merit of those who, like us today, we have come to trust Jesus, and accepted Him as resurrected, as He prophesied it and his apostles reported it in the New Testament, purely out of faith and not verifiable facts; to later have our trust confirmed by the testimony of the presence of Jesus in our daily lives, through the miracles and graces we have received from Him, and every time we pray to Him and He answers.
Similar to this testimony all true Christians have in their souls, out of his mercy and love, Lord Jesus decided to demonstrate not only to Thomas, but to all the present once again, the reality of his resurrection. Thomas, overpowered already by the vision of Jesus, proclaimed before touching Him: “My Lord and My God”, repenting of his lack of faith and trust in the Lord (John 20:28).
Finally, the author, most probably not John, but the copyist, declares that Lord Jesus ‘did’ many things, speaking of miracles and apparitions. Curiously, he does not say ‘and said’, giving to understand that the whole body of teachings of Jesus, were recorded in the book, even when not all his miracles were. But he also added, that these things were ‘written’, meaning the whole book of John (Not passed on in tradition), that we may believe in Jesus, and have Eternal Life ‘In His Name’ (John 20:31)
With this, the author sets clear that the reason we are saved, is through Jesus’s mercy and atonement, and not a systematic knowledge of believes, or times we go to church, or how good we are, even though all these are important, but only through Jesus’s mercy, based on our faith on Him, as He teaches about Himself in the book, the Messiah, and the literal Son of God, Divine (John 1:1).