We should not be too hard on Thomas. Believing in the resurrection of Jesus without seeing the proof was a tall order since, in his world, one hundred out of one hundred people died, and when they did, they tended to stay dead.
Between His resurrection and ascension, Jesus appeared in the flesh to over 500 of His followers (1 Corinthians 15:6). He appeared to Mary Magdalene and a few other women on Easter morning, and He appeared to Peter and John later that day (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). That afternoon, Jesus appeared to two others walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). Then later that night, the other disciples, except Thomas, were in a room talking about what had happened to Jesus, and as they were talking, Jesus came and stood among them and bid them peace (Luke 24:36). Jesus showed them His scars and invited them to touch them to see He was real.
Thomas wasn’t there for any of that. Later, when he heard about it, he said that unless he could see the marks of the nails in Jesus’ hands and place his hand into Jesus’ side, he would never believe (John 20:25). It seemed unwise to go down such an impossible road. But eight days later Jesus appeared again to the disciples when Thomas was there, and said, “Put your hand in my side, Thomas. Don’t doubt, but believe” (John 20:27, paraphrased). Then Thomas saw Him and said, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
If you were in Thomas’ shoes, would you have believed the disciples’ story without seeing the proof? Even though I might have wanted to, I don’t know that I could have.
John’s Gospel was written with a purpose—to exist as proof of the resurrection of Jesus. He said, “These things are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
We’re given a different kind of proof, but proof nonetheless. In John’s Gospel, he shows us the risen Christ—but not simply with words alone. He gives us a testimony to a resurrection that has not been disproven, but rather has come to be embraced and celebrated by millions of people around the globe and down through time. It is such an incredible claim that it should have been easy to disprove if it were false. But that is not what has happened.
Instead, the story of Jesus’ resurrection has led to the transformation of countless lives. Why? Because the evidences and eye-witnesses surrounding His resurrection were so numerous and consistent that people who came looking to find the whole thing to be a sham often ended up believing. And with believing comes life in Christ’s name. People are changed by the life and ministry of Jesus, not just intellectually but in every way imaginable.
The simple fact that Christianity—a faith built upon the resurrection of its founder—still exists, is a testament to its authenticity.
What about you? Do you believe this?
Written By Russ Ramsey