Thomas wasn’t there to see for himself and couldn’t believe what they told him on the basis of their words. It was too great, it was beyond his ability to embrace. Had they said they’d dreamed of Him or day-dreamed of Him; had they said they reminisced and saw Him laughing, smiling and heard His voice; had they said anything like that he would have believed them for wouldn’t that have been the kind of thing he had been doing himself?
They said nothing like that. Had they seen and heard the above they would have seen no more than they expected but it would have been infinitely less than the truth.
Had they seen only what they would have expected they would have joined company with Mary who interpreted what she saw in light of what she expected. Her love expected a corpse she could minister to and so she saw a “gardener” instead of Jesus. We do that, don’t we; see what we expect I mean. Days dreams of Jesus we would expect. They weren’t day dreaming!
Like two on the Emmaus Road she simply didn’t get the big picture. The love she had for Him needed enriched, disciplined and contextualized. What she felt she needed was less than He was offering and less than He was prepared to give. It wasn’t all about sweet Mary or about personal human intimacy of friendship—it was about His Father’s will and about the glorification of humanity for whom He became incarnate, lived, suffered, died and rose glorious!
We get no psychological information about her response when He said, “You mustn’t cling to me…” but do we need one? Have we not because we were/are His “friends” and part of His “inner circle” felt horrible when we discovered He required some “distance”—distance of one kind that (in the end) we find to be greater intimacy of another kind?
When Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he actually felt the wounds for himself surely the others who had rejected what Mary told them would understand his suspended judgment, which was really not suspended judgment but current non-belief.
When he was expressing his unbelief his Lord was listening—unseen—and was able to tell him what he had said and still He was willing to undergo the “test”. Christ’s knowledge, His calmness, the continuing love and His majesty carries Thomas beyond the need of “touching” or “examining” and “seeing”. He had no reason to expect more than a Lazarus-like return but all of a sudden—though nothing is “all of a sudden”—he “gets it”.
His Lord is also His God.
At first he expected nothing, then he expected something and now he grasps what he could never have expected to expect.
The wounds functioned as identification, this truly was a man and this truly was their friend who was slain—“It’s really me.” (Luke 24:39)
Since the wounds are not on a corpse but on this glorified Jesus who simply appears where and when He chooses, the wounds are witnesses to His Lordship over Death and over all the history that led to His dying and all the forces that worked to gain His death and all the definitive and fullest expression of that power (Matthew 10:28).
And Thomas “gets it”.
What is it he now grasps?
What does this unique expression of faith express?
I believe that Jesus is God incarnate—He is always God always being a man; He is always true God choosing to be a true man—and with millions of others I believe that in the light of the biblical witness.
I hold that Thomas was lifted to a conviction about the Godhood of Jesus previously unknown to his companions. I also think he finally understood what Jesus meant in John 14.
Philip who had been with Jesus “a long time” still asked Jesus, “Show us the Father.” He hadn’t “got it”. The Teacher and Lord said, “If you see Me, you see the Father; if you know Me you know the Father” but nobody “got it”—not until Thomas!
“Nobody comes to the Father but by me!” the Lord had said.” The Son of Man must suffer and be raised again from the dead,” he said. “I am the way,” He said.
The way to glory for the Messiah is through suffering, the Lord had said more than once (Luke 24:25-27; 1 Peter 1:11, 19); but who believed it?
That being true and since it is also true that “he who sees Me sees Him that sent Me” (John 12:45) then God’s way of glorifying Himself in saving and glorifying wayward sinners like us is by bringing us through the suffering and death we brought into human experience.
Thomas who insisted that he wanted to “see” finally got to ”see” God in and as the man Jesus.
“You don’t get to God unless you get to Him in and through Me! You don’t see or know God unless you see and know Him through Me.”
There are so many angles on truth, are there not? We could (and do) stockpile them—is there an end to their number?
I wonder if getting these angles is the same as “getting it”?
“Where I go (John 14:28) you know and the way you know.”
“Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?”
I wonder if we will ever “get it”?
And if not, I wonder why not?

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