Here are the facts about the resurection of Christ:
- An empty tomb (vv. 1-9).
- An appearance to Mary Magdalene (vv. 10-18).
- An appearance to the disciples (vv. 19-23).
- A second appearance to the disciples, especially Thomas (vv. 24-29).
- A third appearance to the disciples and a catch of 153 fish (John 21:4-14).
Why wasn’t Thomas with the others when Jesus first appeared to them? Perhaps fear of being arrested kept him away. Or perhaps he is like some people who would rather ponder events alone than talk it out with others.
When the others told Thomas they had seen the Lord (v. 25), he was sceptical. He knew all about wishful thinking and optical illusions. He wanted the proof that only touch and sight could give (v. 25), otherwise he would not believe.
Jesus appears again and, knowing of Thomas’ statement, deals sympathetically with the doubter by offering His hands and side and urges him to ″stop doubting and believe″ (v. 27). Finally convinced, Thomas then declares that Jesus is ″My Lord and my God!″ He believes (v. 28).
By good tradition, Thomas took the gospel to India, where he was martyred. The doubter came to firm belief via the resurrection of Christ. True belief has two characteristics: a conviction about who Jesus is and a commitment to Him in everyday living
John says he could have written of many more signs (v. 30) but has provided enough evidence, through the written record of the signs in his gospel, to form the basis of belief in Jesus and thus the reality of having life in His name. Christianity is evidence-based, leading to faith in Jesus (conviction and commitment), and the result is life in relationship with God that is endless (a new quality and quantity of life). John is writing evangelistically, but probably also to encourage believers to keep on believing.
Of all the miraculous signs in the gospel, the last is the most compelling-Jesus dies and is raised, making no concession to death. John Calvin called the resurrection the most important article of our faith. He wrote: ″The glory of his resurrection . . . caused his death itself to be a splendid triumph.″18
John’s gospel, which begins by affirming the deity of Jesus (John 1:1, 14) now draws to a close with this affirmation, ″Lord and God!″ and the repeated pronoun, ″My Lord and my God!″
18John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1949), 213.
Are you convicted of who Jesus is? Have you made a commitment to follow Him? How will that look like in your everyday life?