Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”– John 20:24-29
When Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he exclaimed “My Lord and My God”. His eyes were open in belief as he saw the fullness of Jesus.
He saw his beloved Teacher and Friend, the one who calmed the storm upon the sea and calmed the storm inside his heart.
He saw the Provider who fed his hunger and thousands of others with a few loaves and some fish and fed the hunger inside him for more than this world could ever offer.
He saw the Healer who made the blind see and the lame walk and healed the brokenness inside his soul.
He saw that Jesus is Lord and God.
At that moment Thomas’s life was forever changed.
There are people today who would say Jesus is not divine or that Jesus never claimed to be God. Yet in this narrative we see Thomas worshipping Jesus as Lord and God. Jesus does not rebuke him, he accepts this worship.
And what was it that caused the Jewish leaders of the day to be so angry with Jesus and seek to have him eliminated? Was it mere jealousy over the large crowds following Jesus or the miraculous powers he displayed in their presence ? Were they merely infuriated over the poignant remarks Jesus used to call out their hypocrisy? Were they merely envious of the insightful teachings and parables Jesus used? While those certainly were some of their sentiments, the Jewish leaders were enraged because Jesus claimed to be God.
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
They picked up stones to kill Jesus because in their eyes he was committing blasphemy (Leviticus 24:15-16). He used the name of God “I am” for Himself. ” I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”– John 10:30-33
But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. “The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.- Mark 14:61-65
If Jesus is a mere mortal, solely a good man or a wise teacher, who met a tragic end on a Roman cross, there would be no reason to rejoice this Christmas. A detailed reading of the New Testament must make us wrestle with the claims Jesus made of himself and those the apostles made of him. Jesus claims to be one with the Father (John 10:30), sent from the Father (John 20:21), going back to the Father (John 16:28). He says He is the Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, etc. If Jesus is just a man, than He is a liar or a lunatic to make such claims. Liars are not “good” men. Lunatics don’t make trustworthy teachers.
Rather the New Testament writers say this about the divinity of Jesus:
* The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.– Hebrews 1:3
*For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),
yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live;
and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6
The true joy and hope of Christmas is not in the birth of a great prophet or a wise teacher. The joy and hope of Christmas is in the Incarnation. That God the Son would leave the throne room of Heaven to be born in human flesh to make a way for his beloved children to be close to Him once more. God knew that our good would never be “good enough”, so He lived the perfect life we never could. He gave the ultimate sacrifice of Himself to take the punishment we deserve. That is a love so inconceivable, so indescribable, so uncontainable.
That is a love that makes us rejoice. Not just on Christmas day, but EVERY day.
It is a love that makes us exclaim as Thomas did, “My Lord and My God!”
May you be amazed at the glory of the Incarnation this Christmas,