Show me. If I’m going to believe, I need to be convinced—on my terms. After all, you know the saying: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. So, provide the evidence.
Thomas was stubbornly determined. He believed Jesus was the Messiah and did not shy away from bold statements to support his conviction. Peter wasn’t the only disciple had tenacious confidence in Jesus. After all, it was Thomas not Peter who instructed his fellow disciples, “let us also go, that we may die with him.”
He had seen it all. Thomas had seen the miracles and wonders. His ears heard the voice of God. Lazarus rose from the dead by only a few simple words from his Teacher, and he had a front row seat.
But there was also something else he had seen. He had seen his teacher and friend, the One whom he believed to be the Messiah, taken away. He had run in fear in the garden where Jesus took them to pray. He watched as his friend and fellow disciple betrayed their Teacher. He had seen Jesus murdered, dead and buried.
The darkness of unbelief and doubt swirled around in Thomas’s head like a storm. There was no confidence to be found in Thomas. He was locked away from the world with the other disciples. His certainty had wilted and shriveled up.
Like a broken record, the words of the religious leaders replayed in his head. “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Why didn’t Jesus save Himself? Why didn’t Jesus fight for Himself? Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they had thought He was.
The words, “We have seen the Lord” were not comforting to Thomas. They were salt in a fresh, deep wound. If Thomas was to ever believe again, there would need to be concrete proof. He demanded proof.
“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” (John 20:25).
Prove it. If You are truly the Son of God, if You are alive, prove it. Show me You are who You say You are by the wounds in Your hand and side.
Eight days later, Jesus obliges Thomas’ request. Unlike the demand of the religious leaders, Jesus does not remain silent this time. He proves who He is by showing Himself according to the His insistent disciple’s requirement.
“Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:26-27).
The Messiah the religious leaders expected resembled more of a super hero with hercules-type strength than a suffering servant. Jesus did prove that He was the Son of God, though not according to the indignant stipulation of the religious leaders. He proved that He was the Son of God not by leaving the cross, but through His own death on that cross.
Peace be with you ceaselessly flows from the Saviors lips. Just as Jesus reached out to grab Peter as he sank beneath the stormy seas, Jesus reaches out His nail pierced hand to comfort Thomas, sinking in the waves of unbelief.
Jesus reaches out His nail pierced hand and washes our unbelieving, stubborn hearts in baptism. Stop doubting and believe. The same Word that raised Lazarus speaks to us through His written Word. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
Kathy graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a B.A. in Media Design. She is currently a writing contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and Coffee by Gillespie, as well as a freelance graphic designer. She is the co-author of The Sinner/Saint Lenten Devotional from 1517 Publishing.