Apr 8, 2023 9:20 PM
The Incredulity of St. Thomas, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1634
Jesus first appeared to his disciples as a group later on the first day of the week, and what a powerful moment that was for them. But one of their number was missing. Thomas famously doubted their report, saying, “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." And he was famously caught up short when Jesus appeared again to them all the week following.
Jesus’ self-revelation to Thomas is vividly depicted in numerous classical pieces of art, many of which show Thomas thrusting his hand into the wounds of Jesus’ side. But the Bible does not say that Thomas ever touched Jesus. Rembrandt’s painting above shows a clearly startled and embarrassed Thomas (for some reason depicted unrealistically as an old man) as Jesus invites his touch. Thomas, however, is drawing his hand away. His next movement will instead be to fall at Jesus’ feet in worship.
In this, the last installment of our Holy Week videos from John’s Gospel, let’s examine this passage together and see if we might see ourselves among the first disciples of our Lord.