Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!” John 20:25.
After His resurrection, Christ appeared to many of his followers in and around Jerusalem. On one occasion, He even walked through the wall of the room in which ten of his disciples were gathered. Two disciples were absent from the group on that day–Judas Iscariot, who had killed himself, and Thomas. We are not told where Thomas was on that day, but he certainly missed witnessing a truly miraculous event.
When the other disciples told him that they had seen the resurrected Christ, Thomas did not believe them. Despite their repeated efforts to convince him that Jesus was alive, Thomas remained skeptical. He demanded proof; he wanted to see Christ with his own eyes. History remembers Thomas negatively for doubting, but after all the events that had taken place leading up to this point, one can imagine why he was so persistent about seeing Christ himself.
Eight days after the first post-resurrection visit from Christ, the disciples were again gathered together, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked because the disciples did not know if the Roman or Jewish authorities were coming after them, to do to them what they had done to Jesus. Despite the locked door, Christ walks in the room and stands in front of the disciples. He approaches Thomas and tells Thomas to “put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever. Believe.”
When Thomas sees Christ and the wounds on His body, he is quickly overwhelmed with belief and emotion. He falls to his knees and cries out “My Lord! My God!” Christ then replies “You have believed because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing.”
We are “those who believe without seeing.” Christ blesses Thomas for believing in His resurrection, even if Thomas needed a little extra proof. But Christ has blessed us more for believing with out ever seeing Him. It takes a great deal of faith to believe that a man lived, died, and came back to life nearly 2000 years ago. The last person to ever see Jesus on this earth died nearly 1900 years ago. We may never see Christ on this side of Heaven, yet we still believe. Christ understands the amount of faith that this requires, and He has blessed us and given us the strength and encouragement we need to continue following Him.
What is this blessing? What is the source of that strength and encouragement? It is the Holy Spirit, which Christ has sent to be with us until He returns. Though there may be doubters and naysayers all around us, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us allows us to hold strong to the fact that Christ rose from the dead, and that He will return for us. It is this simple reassurance that comforts us and sustains us, even through the deepest valleys and darkest nights we experience.