Is it true? – is a question we may well ask after hearing what might seem an unbelievable story. It was also the question on Thomas’ mind when the other disciples told him that Jesus was alive again and that they had seen Him. How could anyone come alive again after such a cruel death?
Early on the morning of the first day of the week, following Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, Mary Magdalene and her friends had gone to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. To their surprise the stone which had securely sealed the tomb was rolled away, and His body had gone. An angel surprised them even more by saying that Jesus was no longer dead but alive!
‘And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said’ (Matthew 28.5-6).
Subsequently Mary had seen Jesus and spoken with Him, and told the disciples that He was indeed alive. Of course, Thomas was not alone among them with his doubts because Peter and John had also found it hard to believe, and had run to the tomb to see for themselves.
Thomas was not convinced. He had witnessed Jesus’ authority to still the storm, His ability to walk on water and His incredible power to feed over 5000 people with one small lunch. He had observed Jesus’ amazing miracles healing people from all sorts of illnesses, making the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see and even raising the dead back to life, and yet he still did not believe that Jesus was alive again.
‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4.41).
The miracles had surely proved to Thomas that Jesus was no ordinary man but one who could do extraordinary things. Yet Thomas declared he would not believe Jesus was alive until he had seen for himself Jesus’ nail-pierced hands and wounded side.
A few days later Thomas was with the other disciples when Jesus appeared again to them. This answered his questioning and doubting mind. He now knew for certain it was true, Jesus was indeed alive! Thomas exclaimed: ‘My Lord and my God’ (John 20.28).
So what is the significance of this remarkable event in history? It is that Jesus willingly gave his life to save us from our sin that separates us from a Holy God. Jesus, who never sinned, became sin for us by taking upon Himself our sin and the punishment that we justly deserve. It was a once and for all sacrifice that God accepted in full by raising His Son, Jesus, to life again. In the light of this, God calls us to repentance and faith in Jesus, so that we may have our sins forgiven and receive eternal life in heaven with Him.
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3.16).
We have not seen Jesus as Thomas did, but we believe it is true that Jesus died, was buried and rose again to save us from our sins. Our prayer is that you will also believe it is true.
Jesus said: ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’ (John 20:29).