John 20: 27
Put thy hand and know the place of the nails, and be not incredulous, but believing.
Verse 27. Put in thy finger hither. Christ, to shew he knew all things, made use of the very same words in which S. Thomas had expressed his incredulous dispositions. Our blessed Redeemer would have the mark of the spear, and the prints of the nails to remain in his glorified body, to convince them it was the same body: and that they might be for ever marks of his victory and triumph over sin and the devil. The evangelist does not say, that S. Thomas went and touched Christ’s body, though it is very probable he did as he was ordered. But how could a body that entered in, when the doors were shut, be felt, or be palpable? S. Chrys. answers, that Christ at that time permitted his body to be palpable, and to resist another body, to induce S. Thomas to believe the resurrection; and that when he pleased, his body could not be felt. In like manner, his body was either visible or invisible, as he had a will it should be. In fine, he could eat in their sight, though he stood not in need of any nourishment. See S. Aug.
**Be not incredulous, but faithful._ In the Greek, be not an unbeliever, but a believer. — My Lord, and my God; that is, I confess thee to be my Lord, and my God; and with the Greek article, to be him, that is, the Lord, and the God. Wi.
26. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you, 27. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) Consider the mercy of the Lord, how for the sake of one soul, He exhibits His wounds. And yet the disciples deserved credit, and He had Himself foretold the event. Notwithstanding, because one person, Thomas, would examine Him, Christ allowed him. But He did not appear to him immediately, but waited till the eighth day, in order that the admonition being given in the presence of the disciples, might kindle in him greater desire, and strengthen his faith for the future. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
AUGUSTINE. (in Serm. Tap. ad Cat. ii. 8.) You ask; If He entered by the shut door, where is the nature of His body? (ubi est modus corporis.) And I reply; If He walked on the sea, where is the weight of His body? The Lord did that as the Lord; and did He, after His resurrection, cease to be the Lord?
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii. 1) Jesus then comes Himself, and does not wait till Thomas interrogates Him. But to shew that He heard what Thomas said to the disciples, He uses the same words. And first He rebukes him; Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: secondly, He admonishes him; And be not faithless, but believing. Note how that before they receive the Holy Ghost faith wavers, but afterward is firm. We may wonder how an incorruptible body could retain the marks of the nails. But it was done in condescension; in order that they might be sure that it was the very person Who was crucified.
AUGUSTINE. (de Symb. ad Cat. ii. 8) He might, had He pleased, have wiped all spot and trace of wound from His glorified body; but He had reasons for retaining them. He shewed them to Thomas, who would not believe except he saw and touched; and He will shew them to His enemies, not to say, as He did to Thomas, Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed, but to convict them: Behold the Man whom ye crucified, see the wounds which ye inflicted, recognise the side which ye pierced, that it was by you, and for you, that it was opened, and yet ye cannot enter there.
AUGUSTINE. (xxii. Civ. Dei, xix) We are, as I know not how, afflicted with such love for the blessed martyrs, that we would wish in that kingdom to see on their bodies the marks of those wounds which they have borne for Christ’s sake. And perhaps we shall see them; for they will not have deformity, but dignity, and, though on the body, shine forth not with bodily, but with spiritual beauty (virtutis). Nor yet, if any of the limbs of martyrs have been cut off, shall they therefore appear without them in the resurrection of the dead; for it is said, There shall not an hair of your head perish. But if it be fit that in that new world, the traces of glorious wounds should still be preserved on the immortal flesh, in the places where the limbs were cut off there, though those same limbs withal be not lost but restored, shall the wounds appear. For though all the blemishes of the body shall then be no more, yet the evidences of virtue are not to be called blemishes.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvi.) Our Lord gave that flesh to be touched which He had introduced through shut doors: wherein two wonderful, and, according to human reason, contradictory things appear, viz. that after the resurrection He had a body incorruptible, and yet palpable. For that which is palpable must be corruptible, and that which is incorruptible must be impalpable. But He shewed Himself incorruptible and yet palpable, to prove that His body after His resurrection was the same in nature as before, but different in glory.
GREGORY. (Mor. xii. 31) Our body also in that resurrection to glory will be subtle by means of the action of the Spirit, but palpable by its true nature, not, as Eutychius says, impalpable, and subtler than the winds and the air.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxxi) Thomas saw and touched the man, and confessed the God whom he neither saw nor touched. By means of the one he believed the other undoubtingly: Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.
THEOPHYLACT. He who had been before unbelieving, after touching the body shewed himself the best divine; for he asserted the twofold nature and one Person of Christ; by saying, My Lord, the human nature, by saying, My God, the divine, and by joining them both, confessed that one and the same Person was Lord and God.
Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxxi) He saith not, Hast touched me, but, hast seen me; the sight being a kind of general sense, and put in the place often of the other four senses; as when we say, Hear, and see how well it sounds; smell, and see how sweet it smells; taste, and see how well it tastes; touch, and see how warm it is. Wherefore also our Lord says, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands. What is this but, Touch and see? And yet he had not eyes in his finger. He refers them both to seeing and to touching, when He says, Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed. Although it might be said, that the disciple did not dare to touch, what was offered to be touched.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvi.) But when the Apostle says, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, (Heb. 11:1) it is plain that things which are seen, are objects not of faith, but of knowledge. Why then is it said to Thomas who saw and touched, Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed? Because he saw one thing, believed another; saw the man, confessed the God. But what follows is very gladdening; Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. In which sentence we are specially included, who have not seen Him with the eye, but retain Him in the mind, provided we only develope our faith in good works. For he only really believes, who practises what he believes.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxxi) He uses the past tense, the future to His knowledge having already taken place by His own predestination.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) If any one then says, Would that I had lived in those times, and seen Christ doing miracles! let him reflect, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
THEOPHYLACT. Here He means the disciples who had believed without seeing the print of the nails, and His side.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) John having related less than the other Evangelists, adds, And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. Yet neither did the others relate all, but only what was sufficient for the purpose of convincing men. He probably here refers to the miracles which our Lord did after His resurrection, and therefore says, In the presence of His disciples, and they being the only persons with whom He conversed after His resurrection. Then to let you understand, that the miracles were not done for the sake of the disciples only, He adds, But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; addressing Himself to mankind generally. And, this belief, he then says, profits ourselves, not Him in Whom we believe. And that believing ye might have life through His name, i. e. through Jesus, which is life.