What Does John 20:29 Mean?

Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

John 20:29(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

So often we refer to the son of Didymus as 'doubting Thomas', yet when Christ's other disciples expressed a reluctance to go to Jerusalem for fear of the Jews, it was Thomas who, cried out,  "Let us also go, that we may die with Him". Thomas was also the disciple who prompted the Lord to say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" when he questioned Him, by saying, "Lord, we do not know where You are goingHow can we know the way?"

There is no doubt that Thomas was a redeemed man who believed in the risen Lord Jesus and was a pillar of the early Church. He worshipped his Saviour as "my Lord and my God", but only after he had seen that Jesus was alive from the dead. Like all the other disciples, Thomas forsook Him in the garden and fled when Jesus was arrested. And like the others, who grieved at His crucifixion, he allowed despair to overwhelm him, to such an extent, that he vowed, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe!"

Thomas was not the fool who says in his heart, "there is no God." He was not the rebellious man, with 'a reprobate mind', as described in Romans chapter 1. Thomas loved the Lord desperately, but allowed human reasoning to eclipse the truth. He permitted unbelief to cloud his faith. Thomas, like so many today, yearned that his human senses would secure the deep desire of his heart. So many today long for a voice or vision to supplement their faith. They desire a supernatural sign or a special revelation to safeguard their trust in God. But we are to live by faith and not by sight. We are to live by faith and not by signs. We are to live by faith and not because of some alternative system that supports our faith.

Thomas' hope in Christ was reignited, and he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ because he saw Him with his own eyes and worshipped Him when He came and stood among His followers in the upper room. But the Lord gently scolded this chosen apostle, who had been with Him throughout His earthly ministry, with the words, "because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

One week earlier, Christ's other followers were invited to come and touch His body, to see their risen Saviour was not a ghost, so that their faith in Him would similarly be rekindled and inflamed. On both occasions, to a lesser or greater degree, trust was triggered and faith was stimulated through the physical senses of sight and touch. But this is not how it should have been, for we are to live by faith and not sight. Faith is the evidence of things we do not see or touch or hear!

Whatever value we place on bodily senses or emotional awareness to stimulate and inform us, God's greater commendation and divine approbation is given to the one who is not influenced by physical senses, human emotions or life's circumstances, but who simply trusts His Word. "Blessed are they that have NOT seen, and yet have believed". 

The experience Thomas went through eight days later, when the disciples were again inside and Thomas with them, was written for our learning as well as for his, for even though the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you," and said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side." Then Jesus told him, "because you have seen Me, you have believed. How blessed are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed."

The approval and blessing of God is on the one who has faith in His Son, trusts His Word of truth, and believes the Holy Scriptures. We are to live by faith, not by sight or sense or situations. We are to live by trusting God's Word and believing His promises, not because of what we see or what we feel, and there is a special promise for those who have not seen the risen, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus but have believed on Him.

Thomas made three very bold and bolshie announcements when he was told of Christ's resurrection. UNLESS I shall see in His hands the print of the nails; UNLESS I put my finger into the print of the nails, and UNLESS thrust my hand into His side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE. Yet we do not hear that he handled the Lord and poked the wounds in His hands, feet, and side. Instead, we discover his faith is reignited as he pronounces a most earth-shattering declaration, "for Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'"

Although God knows that trust may be triggered by our senses, emotions, and daily living, He also knows those things can as easily be shattered into a thousand tiny fragments and sifted like wheat by Satan, if faith is not securely anchored to Christ as fact. No wonder the Lord Jesus in this gentle chiding of His dearly loved disciple, who had walked with Him for three long years, was to explain the secure and better way, "Blessed are those that have not seen Me, and yet have believed in Me, for they will not be disappointed."

There may be times we wished we had lived in the days of the apostles and SEEN the Lord with our own eyes, and felt His gentle touch, but how blessed are we who have not seen Him in the physical realm but have SEEN Him with the spiritual eye of faith and are still able to cry as Thomas did, "my Lord, and my God."

My Prayer

Thank You, Father, for opening my spiritual eyes of faith to see You and the lovely Lord Jesus. I pray that I will not rely on senses or emotions to inform me of Your love and grace, but will trust the truth of Your Word. Strengthen my faith in You today, Lord. And send me out as a messenger to proclaim You as my Lord and my God. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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