One of the most amazing sentences in the Bible is “He is not here; he has risen” (Matthew 28:6). Those words echo through all of the accounts of the risen Jesus. Jesus didn’t just die. He rose from the dead. He wasn’t resurrected just as some sort of spirit, but as actual flesh and blood.
Many people saw Jesus alive after His death. In John 20 we see Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, and “the other disciple” (the John who wrote the Gospel of John) all discover the empty tomb. Soon Jesus talks one-on-one to Mary. He then appears to his closest followers, and finally to Thomas, who genuinely doubted Jesus was alive.
Known as “Doubting Thomas,” this disciple stands out for his practical honesty, not for his unbelief. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, Thomas frankly showed his despondency along with his intense loyalty to Jesus: “Let us also go [to Lazarus’ grave], that we may die with him” (John 11:16). At Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, Thomas expressed the confusion that was surely on all the disciples’ minds (see John 14:5). Thomas never pretended. If he didn’t understand something, he said so; if he felt discouraged, he acted like it.
Thomas got his reputation as a doubter primarily because of his reaction when told of Jesus’ resurrection. He simply insisted that he needed to see for himself. The implications of a risen Jesus were too great, he believed, to take someone else’s word for it. Jesus honored this honest doubt, and when he visited Thomas in person to offer proof, Thomas responded with the ultimate statement of faith: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). He was, in fact, the only disciple who directly addressed Jesus as God.
Thomas’s questions led to faith because he expressed them sincerely and looked for answers. The last mention of him in the Bible shows Thomas not questioning but praying, waiting with the other disciples for the Holy Spirit to come (see Acts 1:12 – 14).
Do you believe that Jesus was raised to life in flesh and blood?
What’s significant about Jesus appearing to so many people after He rose from the dead?
Do you have honest questions to bring before God?
Article drawn from the NIV Starting Place Study Bible.