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I wonder, did any of you have an invitation to the Royal Wedding? My house, as you know, is difficult to find and so maybe the despatch rider got lost. However, for the minute, I would like you to imagine that you should have had one but for some reason you missed out. Poor Thomas, somehow he missed the event. Jesus appeared to the disciples when he was out and about on other business. Now, to be fair, you might well feel aggrieved when everyone is telling you how amazing it was, how the dress was fabulous, the music perfect, the pageantry exceptional and how you just had to have been there, but you might not go so far as to say “I don’t believe it, unless I can touch the wedding ring and twirl it around with my own fingers then I will not believe it!”
The testimony of Thomas is the climax of John’s Gospel for John throughout is determined to remind us that it is the crucifixion and the resurrection together that are important. The vital nature of the story of Thomas hinges on two things.
Firstly the strength of his doubts. It is outrageous really, “unless I can put my fingers into the holes made by the nails”, but you see this serves to emphasise, amplify and underline that Thomas was certain that Jesus was dead and that he had been crucified. Later anti-Christian explanations would try to suggest that somehow Jesus was either not dead, when laid in the tomb, or that someone else had been crucified instead. But listen to Thomas, see how sure he is.
Secondly there is the strength of his recognition. “My Lord and my God”, he says. This is a profound moment. He recognises Jesus as the Jesus he knew, certainly, and so “My Lord,” but also his realised and now spontaneously expressed faith leads him to add “My God”, for he sees who Jesus is and understands that he is truly God.
Thomas is no longer doubting in the slightest but is convinced. The most unyielding sceptic has given us the most perfect confession.