Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
– John 20:28, NIV-1978
Thomas is widely known as “doubting Thomas” based on his initial reluctance to believe the reports regarding Jesus’ resurrection. I have long believed that this disparagement of Thomas is unwarranted.
Scripture is replete with calls and warnings to “test the prophets,” or to “not believe every spirit.” The Bereans were considered nobler than the Thessalonians specifically because they did not accept things at face value, but rather searched the scriptures to see what was true.1
I find it worthy of note that neither Jesus nor the other disciples ever spoke ill of Thomas for his reaction to reports of the resurrection. Thomas did not refuse to believe. He refused to be misled.
Later in life, Thomas would show great faith as the first missionary and martyr to India. When the disciples urged Jesus not to return to Jerusalem, it was Thomas who countered, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”2
Following the crucifixion, when “the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews,”3 Thomas was not with them. Thomas was not hiding. In truth, we do not know where Thomas was, or what he was doing, but we know for certain that he was not cowering in fear with the other disciples.
When Thomas did finally witness the resurrected Lord, Jesus invited him to “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”4 I find it significant that Thomas declined to do those very things. He saw and believed in the resurrected Christ!
But I believe it goes much more deeply than that.
Seeing the resurrected Jesus standing before him, Thomas demonstrated comprehension of events that eclipsed that of the other disciples, and from that comprehension, Thomas declared, “My Lord, and my God,” the first of the disciples to declare outright that Jesus is, in fact, God. This was later confirmed by the apostle Paul.
…who through the Spirit of holiness was was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
– Romans 1:4, NIV-1978
The resurrection of Jesus declares his deity, but it also secures our justification.
He was delivered over to death for our sins, and was raised to life for our justification.
– Romans 4:25, NIV-1978
The resurrection of Jesus eliminates the mastery of death over him.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
– Romans 6:9, NIV-1978
The resurrection of Jesus is an essential element to our salvation.
That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
– Romans 10:9, NIV-1978
The resurrection of Jesus makes baptism effective toward salvation.
…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
– 1 Peter 3:21, NIV-1978
Investigate these things. Search the scriptures. Learn everything you can about the resurrected Lord and then proclaim with Thomas, “My Lord, and my God!”
1. Acts 17:11
2. John 11:16
3. John 20:19
4. John 20:27