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John 20:24-29

Context
The Response of Thomas

20:24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), 1  one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 20:25 The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, 2  “Unless I see the wounds 3  from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!” 4 

20:26 Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, 5  and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, 6  Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put 7  your finger here, and examine 8  my hands. Extend 9  your hand and put it 10  into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” 11  20:28 Thomas replied to him, 12  “My Lord and my God!” 13  20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people 14  who have not seen and yet have believed.” 15 

1 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author; Didymus means “the twin” in Greek.

2 tn Grk “but he said to them.”

3 tn Or “marks.”

4 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context. The use of “it” here as direct object of the verb πιστεύσω (pisteusw) specifies exactly what Thomas was refusing to believe: that Jesus had risen from the dead, as reported by his fellow disciples. Otherwise the English reader may be left with the impression Thomas was refusing to “believe in” Jesus, or “believe Jesus to be the Christ.” The dramatic tension in this narrative is heightened when Thomas, on seeing for himself the risen Christ, believes more than just the resurrection (see John 20:28).

5 tn Grk “were inside”; the word “together” is implied.

6 tn Grk “the doors were shut”; “locked” conveys a more appropriate idea for the modern English reader.

sn See the note on the phrase locked the doors in 20:19.

7 tn Or “Extend” or “Reach out.” The translation “put” or “reach out” for φέρω (ferw) here is given in BDAG 1052 s.v. 4.

8 tn Grk “see.” The Greek verb ἴδε (ide) is often used like its cognate ἰδού (idou) in Hellenistic Greek (which is “used to emphasize the …importance of someth.” [BDAG 468 s.v. ἰδού 1.b.ε]).

9 tn Or “reach out” or “put.”

10 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

11 tn Grk “and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

12 tn Grk “answered and said to him.”

13 sn Should Thomas’ exclamation be understood as two subjects with the rest of the sentence omitted (“My Lord and my God has truly risen from the dead”), as predicate nominatives (“You are my Lord and my God”), or as vocatives (“My Lord and my God!”)? Probably the most likely is something between the second and third alternatives. It seems that the second is slightly more likely here, because the context appears confessional. Thomas’ statement, while it may have been an exclamation, does in fact confess the faith which he had previously lacked, and Jesus responds to Thomas’ statement in the following verse as if it were a confession. With the proclamation by Thomas here, it is difficult to see how any more profound analysis of Jesus’ person could be given. It echoes 1:1 and 1:14 together: The Word was God, and the Word became flesh (Jesus of Nazareth). The Fourth Gospel opened with many other titles for Jesus: the Lamb of God (1:29, 36); the Son of God (1:34, 49); Rabbi (1:38); Messiah (1:41); the King of Israel (1:49); the Son of Man (1:51). Now the climax is reached with the proclamation by Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and the reader has come full circle from 1:1, where the author had introduced him to who Jesus was, to 20:28, where the last of the disciples has come to the full realization of who Jesus was. What Jesus had predicted in John 8:28 had come to pass: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he” (Grk “I am”). By being lifted up in crucifixion (which led in turn to his death, resurrection, and exaltation with the Father) Jesus has revealed his true identity as both Lord (κύριος [kurios], used by the LXX to translate Yahweh) and God (θεός [qeos], used by the LXX to translate Elohim).

14 tn Grk “are those.”

15 tn Some translations treat πιστεύσαντες (pisteusante") as a gnomic aorist (timeless statement) and thus equivalent to an English present tense: “and yet believe” (RSV). This may create an effective application of the passage to the modern reader, but the author is probably thinking of those people who had already believed without the benefit of seeing the risen Jesus, on the basis of reports by others or because of circumstantial evidence (see John 20:8).



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