On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
…Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you! ”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (Mark 20:19-27 NIV)
When reading this passage it’s easy to miss this detail: Thomas, who is often called “Doubting Thomas”, apparently was the only one of the remainder of the Twelve who missed seeing Jesus when He first passed through a locked door to give His disciples encouragement and instruction.
How could our sovereign leader (Jesus) not make sure everyone in his intimate circle was present when He made His first appearance to the group? Wasn’t FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) a thing – even then? No wonder Thomas declared:
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (Mark 20:25 NIV)
After all, hadn’t Jesus already done this for the remainder of the Twelve?
So I’m inclined to wonder if Jesus had a special reason for appearing to ten of the Twelve when Thomas was elsewhere. What did Thomas need to wrestle with as he waited a week for Jesus to grant him the vital experience of being an eyewitness to the resurrection?
This deep need to have a legitimate question answered along with a valid personal experience with the Living God isn’t limited to Thomas. We like to say “I have a personal relationship with Jesus”. We often say “Christianity isn’t just a religion”. So doesn’t it follow that we need something besides Christian ancestors, our imagination, or the testimony of our friends to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead?
I may be wrong, but Thomas may have been one of those personalities who needed straightforward, no nonsense facts to move forward in his faith. As Sergeant Joe Friday of the 1950s TV series Dragnet always said when interviewing a female witness, “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.”
In any event, Jesus generously and graciously accommodated Thomas’ genuine need to see and touch the evidence of His resurrection:
“Stop doubting and believe.”
Reflect on times Jesus has made you wait for confirmation of His presence or His direction, but later accommodated and met you in the way you needed.