Imagine you’re outside at night. Further imagine you see a bright light moving at a speed faster than anything you’ve ever seen. It zigzags across the sky, coming closer and then farther away. Suddenly it stops still right in front of you. And then in a flash, it’s gone. You run to tell the people in the house. What is their reaction?
Now imagine you are one of those huddled in the upper room. Suddenly Jesus appears. Thomas isn’t there to behold this marvelous sight and the peace and forgiveness He brought. But when Thomas returns, you excitedly tell him. What is his reaction?
You keep trying to convince him. You say that you were not hallucinating. Jesus was really here. It wasn’t a ghost. But Thomas says, “Well, how did he get in here? I had to say the password before you opened the door for me.” You reply, “He just appeared, walking through the door or the walls or somehow.” And Thomas looks at you as if you were crazy or had too much wine. You ask the others to back you up, and they do. But Thomas still isn’t convinced. Can you blame him? Imagine his reaction: A dead person is alive after three days in a tomb, getting in the room although it was secure with locked doors, talking to you, showing his wounds to you, and breathing on you, saying that now you have the power to forgive or retain sins like God. Really? Get real! “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE!”1
Can you imagine the tension and frustration in that room? On one side are people convinced they had seen the crucified Lord now risen; and, sitting in a corner all alone, is one who couldn’t or wouldn’t be swayed by anything you or they said? Why wouldn’t he trust you to tell you truth after all you’ve been through?
Of course Jesus returns and Thomas believes (though we aren’t told that he actually touched the wounds), making a spontaneous profession of faith in his Lord and God, the first to call Him that.
“Blessed are those who have not and have believed.”2 --- all of us.
1 John 20:25
2 John 20:29