As much as I love Caravaggio, I have to call him out on this painting. If you read the Scripture for today carefully, we don’t actually have Thomas inserting his finger into the body of Jesus. What we have is at the sight of Jesus, Thomas makes the most powerful proclamation about Jesus that we have in Scripture: “My Lord and My God”. No one else is heard declaring that Jesus was their God, as we believe he indeed is. I see Thomas different from most people. He didn’t believe because he didn’t see. I get that, Jesus even stressed that point. But at the moment that he sees Jesus he makes this declaration that no one else in Scripture is able to make. In the painting you have Jesus taking the hand of Thomas and guiding it into his side. You have two curious onlookers, disciples, who wanted to see what would happen. Thomas is not the doubting one, but rather the one who believes like no other disciple.
But again we are at the end of the chapter. We need to head back to the beginning of 20. Mary Magdalene sees the stone removed and runs back to tell the disciples. She doesn’t see anything except the stone removed. Very different from the other Gospels. With the middle school Sunday School class last week we looked at all 4 Gospels and compared them. John was markedly different from the others, as you would expect. Remember, different doesn’t mean contradictory, it just means different. The writers emphasized different aspects of that resurrection. So the women went back and told the disciples who ran to see for themselves. There was the speedy John, aka the “other” disciple, and Peter. The question in these verses is what exactly did the disciples believe? Did they believe that Jesus was raised from the dead or did they believe what Mary had told them that Jesus was not present?
While we may not know that answer, we know what Mary believed. She believed that someone had taken his body. Excuse me, Mr. Gardner, can you tell me where you put Jesus’ body? I know you may have robbed his grave and taken all of his valuables, even though God knows he had no valuables, but just tell me where the body is and no harm no foul, I’ll just quietly put him back. “Mary!” It is at the calling of her name that she knows that it must be Jesus. Jesus calls us over the tumult…Jesus knows us by name…He knows my name…Put yourself in the position of Mary and hear the Savior call you by name.