Reflection on John 20:29: Do Not Repeat Thomas’ Mistake in Welcoming the Lord’s Return

February 12, 2022

Now, most of the biblical prophecies of the Lord’s return have come to pass. It is time to welcome the Lord’s reappearance. What kind of attitude should we have toward this? I thought of Thomas’ attitude. When the Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, Thomas was full of doubts and suspicions. He said, “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” (John 20:25). Because of his little faith, the Lord rebuked him when He appeared to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed(John 20:29). After reading this, I thought: Blessed are those who have not seen the nail marks of the Lord and yet believe; but Thomas believed after he had seen. So did he have true faith in the Lord? I couldn’t figure it out all the time.

Reflection on John 20:29

Until later, when I read God’s words in a book, I realized that Thomas didn’t have true faith in the Lord. God’s words say, “Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He was Christ, and was incapable of belief. His faith in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all in the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh, and nor would they accept Him. In order for Thomas to acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and except by the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing him to touch the nail marks on His body, there was no way that anyone could resolve his doubts and make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed Thomas to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected, and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ and God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend them for following Him while doubting Him. The day when they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that a verdict was made upon their doubt. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant that their faith bore them no fruit, and their hardness meant that their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome could only be described as drawing water with a bamboo basket—all in vain. … The Lord Jesus also wanted to use the case of Thomas as a warning for future people: Although you can neither see nor touch the Lord Jesus in your faith in Him, you are blessed because of your true faith, and you can see the Lord Jesus because of your true faith, and this kind of person is blessed.

What happened with Thomas was a warning and a caution for later generations so that more people could warn themselves not to be doubters like Thomas, and that if they did fill themselves with doubt, then they would sink into the darkness. If you follow God, but just like Thomas, always want to touch the Lord’s rib and feel His nail marks to confirm, to verify, to speculate on whether or not God exists, then God will forsake you. So, the Lord Jesus requires people to not be like Thomas, only believing what they can see with their own eyes, but to be pure, honest people, to not harbor doubts toward God, but to simply believe in and follow Him. People like this are blessed. This is a very small requirement the Lord Jesus makes of people, and it is a warning for His followers.

From these two passages of God’s words, I understood: The Lord Jesus’ heart was in pain when He said those words to Thomas. Although Thomas acknowledged His resurrection after he touched the nail marks on His body, He saw how difficult man was to deal with and man’s disobedience. Man believed in God, but knew nothing about God; rather, they only believed in the vague God up in heaven and didn’t acknowledge the incarnate Christ. They didn’t have any real faith in God. During the period when they followed the Lord Jesus, they never treated Him as God. The Lord Jesus felt pity and hatred for this kind of people; even if they believed to the end, they would still be eliminated. For they were too crafty in their hearts; they always differentiated between true and false in matters with their own eyes. This kind of people believed too much in themselves and held to the viewpoint of “seeing is believing” in their belief in God. They acted completely by sight, and did not at all have a heart of seeking the truth. In the end, because of their cunning schemes, they forfeited themselves. Just as God’s words say, “He had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him.” From Thomas’ example, I saw that if a person believes in God but is forever detested and rejected by God because of his craftiness, it indeed is a sorrow. In the Age of Grace, the priests, scribes, and the Pharisees didn’t believe that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah who had been prophesied to come, but used the Law to condemn Him, and crucified Him. Ultimately, their evil deeds aroused God’s anger: They were subject to God’s curse and punishment, and Israel was destroyed and its people fled to other countries around the world. This fact tells us that in our belief if we don’t know God, but rather resist and condemn Him according to our conceptions and imagination, then in the end, we will be cursed and punished by God because of offending His disposition.

These days, people of various denominations are all expecting the Lord Jesus’ return. However, many of them believe that the Lord Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is false. No matter who testifies that the Lord Jesus has already returned, they just don’t believe and still cling to their own notion, holding that only when the Lord Jesus descends on a cloud will they believe. Isn’t their thought the same as Thomas’? On the matter of Lord’s return, if we don’t put aside our notions and imagination, still follow the crowd with a wait-and-see attitude, and dare not investigate or seek the true way, then we will surely fail to see the appearance of the Lord and miss the opportunity to be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” The Lord Jesus’ word is exactly a reminder to us people in the last days: Don’t follow the tracks of those who have failed.


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Reflection on John 20:29: Do Not Repeat Thomas’ Mistake in Welcoming the Lord’s Return Reflection on John 20:29: Do Not Repeat Thomas’ Mistake in Welcoming the Lord’s Return