Blessed Are Those Who Have Not Seen And Yet Have Believed
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Some commentators and scholars have added a question mark, an interrogative punctuation in Jesus’ remark towards Thomas: “Because you have seen me, you have believed?” As if to say, “Only now do you believe?” Since the original Greek has no punctuation, indeed this is more than plausible. And it would accentuate the next phrase: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!”
And this is precisely the point. The disciples were quite the skeptics, even by today’s standards. Jesus repeatedly forewarned them of his death and resurrection. Yet they refused to believe the testimony of the women “because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Lk24:11) meaning Jesus’ own prediction was treated like nonsense. Even Peter, after running to investigate the empty tomb couldn’t put two and two together. “He went away wondering to himself what had happened” (Lk24:12). On the road to Emmaus, the disciples were depressed and eventually rebuked because they were “foolish…and slow to believe” that the Messiah had to suffer and enter his glory (Lk24:25).
The disciples had all the advantage in the world to believe, yet they refused to, until Jesus appeared to them face to face, rebuked them, and in particular Thomas –as if scolding a child –“put your finger here…stop doubting and believe!”
Who is it then, that Jesus is speaking about when he says: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”? He’s speaking about the future church. You and me.
Do we realize then, just how blessed we are, as Jesus says, when we without this physical evidence, place our hand in the hand of Jesus?
Blessed are we, says Jesus, who have not seen him with our physical eyes, yet see him with the eyes of faith. As Peter says: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him…”(1Pet1:8)
The first blessing of believing is that of salvation. It is not by works, but by faith we are saved. But the blessing doesn’t stop there. We are blessed when we continue to believe; when we keep taking him at his word, via the Word of God. We are blessed when we count on his promises with childlike expectation. We are blessed when we wait upon him with faith, with the “assurance of the things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”(Heb 1:1). And we are blessed when we persevere in our faith, lest our faith be in vain(1Cor15:2). So we choose to “live by faith not by sight”(2Cor5:7).
As the hymn says:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Lord, thank you that your blessing has reached me. May I keep believing. Give me the faith even of a mustard seed, so small yet so potent -that I may be truly blessed, and others too, in seeing the object of my faith.