Poor apostle Thomas. Though he was empowered at Pentecost with the rest and carried forth the gospel, we remember him mostly for his skepticism about the resurrection. Doubting Thomas we remember–but he became Believing Thomas.
For after Thomas so famously vowed not to believe Jesus was risen from the dead until he could verify this personally, Christ appeared and invited him to verify it (John 20:24-27). At that, Thomas testified not only to Christ’s resurrection but to His divinity: “My Lord and my God!” (v.28, NIV).
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (v.29). Thomas believed, as must all who wish to enter the kingdom of God. And for those who believe, not on the basis of a visible and tangible experience, like Thomas, but on the basis of the testimony recorded in Scripture and illuminated to us by the work of the Holy Spirit, the blessing of Jesus is given. The gospel is proclaimed to us, a free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. We are called to believe this word.
For, as John goes on to say, his gospel is not a complete biography of Jesus, and leaves many of Christ’s works and words out (v.30). “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (v.31).
Life comes by faith in Jesus Christ. Such faith is reasonable, but it is still faith. It is not given us to feel the wounds of Christ with our hands, but to read the words of testimony. This is by God’s design; Christ could personally appear to each and every person. But He calls us to receive Him by faith. Blessed are those who believe, and receive the gift of life everlasting.