In John 20:24‭-‬25 one reads

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, 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.

Then, Thomas answered as if he really believed what was in front of him (John 20:28)

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

To which Jesus replied

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

As Jesus only addresses the component of the vision, does it mean that for Thomas that was enough?



3 Answers 3


It is not 100% clear the either solution, but, despite the iconography, which shows Thomas touching the wounds, it is more likely, I think, that the seeing and the preliminary testimony of other disciples was enough for him to both believe in the resurrection and the divinity of Christ whom he addresses as “my Lord, my God”.

This is more plausible in the light of what the Lord says immediately to all disciples including Thomas: “You saw and believed, but more blessed are those who will believe having not seen”. Had Thomas touched Him, the Lord could rather said: “You have seen and touched Me”. Yet, this is not a 100% proof, but only a greater degree of plausibility.

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    @Down-voter My anonymous benefactor, i care not for + or - es, but please lay down your reasons, I am earnestly interested. Thanks in advance! Oct 24, 2022 at 19:56
  • Jesus Himself linked Thomas's believing with touching, not just seeing! (John 20:27) The whole story, with 1 John 1:1-4, included all the senses., providing empirical proof of the Resurrection. With "vision only" succeeding generations would only surmise that they had a hallucination., etc. not a real resurrection. I didn't down vote but I can "see" the reason why one would.
    – ray grant
    Mar 1 at 22:55
  • @raygrant - you have not presented any evidence.
    – Dottard
    Mar 2 at 2:06
  • @Dottard - No Evidence? Read the verses listed: John 20:27 and 1 John 1:1-4! Also see Answer below.
    – ray grant
    Mar 2 at 19:16
  • @raygrant John 20:27 says that our Lord told Thomas to touch His wounds, but does not tell if Thomas did so, and 1 John 1:1-2 does not necessarily imply that they touched the body of the resurrected Christ; it is possible to see both ways, neither will be heretical. However Luke 24:39-41 in which the Lord shows the disciples His wounds and then, as if this was not enough for them to believe, also eats in front of them, may imply that they touched His wounds and since still remained in disbelief, He also showed the true physicality of His body also by eating. Mar 3 at 11:07

Human mind is complicated and quite common we do say something we don't mean it. Sometimes we will exaggerate a situation to emphasis our opinion, for example, if I said "I would rather die if I lost". Did I really kill myself when I'm losing? Surely not!

Thomas did not believe the other eleven claimed they saw Jesus, his assertion "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." was an exaggeration of this kind. It had been proven when Jesus teased him to do what he said, Thomas immediate cried out to the Lord.

So seeing Jesus was already enough for him to believe.

But Jesus reply is even more touching, in which He said "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed". For in generations to come, His Church is built on faith.

  • Jesus himself linked Thomas's believing with his touching! (John 20:27. This is confirmed by 1 John 1:1-4. Thomas's request is no exaggeration when one considers that all of modern science is based on such empirical proof to come to a certainty of a phenomenon. Thanks for your input. Peace.
    – ray grant
    Mar 1 at 22:59

See, Hear...and Touch It is true that the conclusion of the matter is what Jesus said: Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29) But this is a contracted summary of the events.

Recall that Jesus himself connected Thomas's believing with touching:

Jesus said to Thomas, "Bring your finger here, and see my hands, and bring your hand here and put into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing!" (John 20:27)

All of Thomas's actions contributed to his believing, according to the narrative written by John. And notice that it took more than just seeing for the other ten disciples to believe, as well:

Being startled and frightened, they were thinking that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:37-39)

And while they were not believing because of their joy and were still marveling, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it before them. (Luke 24:41-43; see also 2 Peter 1:16-19)

And to further show that it more than just a distant (or close proximity "seeing") visionary response that was the basis of theirs (and Thomas's) eventual believing, notice the comments of John in his epistle:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and touched with our hands, concerning the 'Word of Life'...what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you may have fellowship with...the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)

Empirical Proof As apologists have pointed out, this was a crucial set of circumstances because it provided empirical proof of the Resurrection and Divinity of Christ...which is the linchpin of the Christian religion!

Modernity is fixated on scientific reasons for accepting any phenomenon: (1) testable (2) repeatable, and (3) observable by multiple witnesses. The post-resurrection scene fits all of these criteria: (1) all the disciples did hands-on testing, (2) it was repeated with a week in between (and with Jesus available for 40 days thereafter), and (3) not only Thomas, and the ten other Apostles, but hundreds of other people observed the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).

Therefore, no one is with excuse for not believing in Jesus. The recorded testimony of eye-witnesses (similar to a scientific abstract in a peer reviewed journal?) is sufficient for any honest inquirer to see that Jesus is indeed Lord and God!

None of us in modernity have seen those events, but there is more than enough evidence upon which to base our Christian faith. And because of this we are blessed! (John 20:29)

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