Wrapping things up


Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

I love Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. Thomas’ face is almost amusing :). Click image to enlarge.

Anti-climaxes usually suck. The whole of chapter 21 of the Gospel of John is an anti-climax. It’s not boring it’s just not the Big Bang ending that you might have wanted to round off a best seller.

You see the Big Bang happened at the end of chapter 20.

1 – 11 describes the life and ministry of the Lord, 12 – 17 the period of time just before His arrest, 18 His arrest and subsequent trial and 19 His crucifixion. Now 20 is always going to steal the show, His resurrection, however that event isn’t even the climax, it’s the scene setter. You see chapter 20 details first Jesus appearing to Mary, then Jesus appearing to the 10 without doubting Thomas and then finally Jesus appearing to the 11 with doubting Thomas.

And it’s Thomas’ reaction to the risen Christ after he has touched His side and put his fingers into His hands which is the pinnacle, the ultimate, the apex, the climax of the Gospel of John. Read the Scripture below starting at verse 24,

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace {be} with you.” 27 Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!

Want to hear the verse in context? John 20
What is this about?

Thomas’ great acclamation of the deity of Christ has to be the climax! And John says as much in the verses following,

30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Want to hear the verse in context? John 21
What is this about?

So why did John bother writting chapter 21? Well he’d given the testimony of Peter a huge knock during the telling of the tale and he needed to rectified it in the final chapter. 21 is the tell of Peter being a Jumping, Loving, Following Christian and a call to you and me to be the same.

Take some out and read the chapter today. It’ll change your testimony. It’ll change your life.

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One thought on “Wrapping things up

  1. My reading of that passage tells me (I may be mistaken) that Caravaggio misread it.
    Because although Thomas says he won’t believe unless he has touched Jesus’ wounds, John doesn’t say that he actually did this. He simply records that Thomas called out: “My Lord and my God!”
    As I see it, he did not need to do the touching he had insisted on, but was able to perceive the wounds from where he stood. At the same time he was inspired to acclaim his Lord as God – this is an incredible insight.
    Anyone else see it this way?

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