"My Lord and My God"

The Unitarian objects to this exclamation being advanced as evidence of the Deity of our Lord. He contends that Thomas was an admiring enthusiast, and an Eastern withal, having a tendency towards the picturesque and the exaggerated in his speech, and that on this occasion he was betrayed by his feelings into saying what was outside the truth.

That this is an ill-considered conclusion is evident from the insight into the character of Thomas which the brief record of him in the Scriptures gives us. That his affection for his Master was not less than that of the other disciples is proved in John 11:16, but that he was not of an hysterical or credulous nature is equally proved by John 20:25. When his brethren — and there were ten of them — declared to him that they had seen the Lord, he met them with obstinate unbelief, and looked upon them as a band of visionaries. His cold, hard reason kept a tight rein upon his fervour, and his answer to their glad news might have been framed upon the lips of a modern rationalist. "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE."

As to faith and training he was a Jew, believing in one all-transcendent God, and to address a mere man as God would have been in his eyes a most heinous sin, a sin of which a devout Jew would be morally incapable. For proof of this take the case of Daniel, who chose to face the lions rather than perform an act which would, by inference, ascribe an attribute of deity to a man. It was not the impulsive Peter, but this man, naturally stubborn and unimaginative, and religiously a stern monotheist, who was convinced as to who His Master really was, and his confession of the truth of this drew forth no rebuke. Instead, his faith was confirmed by the Lord's reply: "Because thou hast seen THOU HAST BELIEVED."

It is remarkable that the Spirit of God has placed it on record that homage was offered by men to both Peter and Paul, and that they both immediately and vehemently restrained it. "Stand up; I myself also am a man," was Peter's command to Cornelius when that centurion prostrated himself at his feet (Acts 10:26). And when the people of Lystra brought sacrifices to offer to Barnabas and Paul, they, Barnabas and Paul, "rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you" (Acts 14:11-15). These were true men, and they would not permit any to think that they were more than men, nor would they, even for a moment, accept adoration, which was God's alone. From these incidents in the lives of His servants we are taught by inference that Jesus was God when He accepted the adoration of Thomas; if not, what was He? Let the objectors supply the answer.

There is another incident in the Acts of the Apostles that might be well cited by way of contrast in this connection. "And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon … And upon a set day Herod arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration to them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a God, and not of a man. AND IMMEDIATELY THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SMOTE HIM, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten with worms, and gave up the ghost" (Acts 12:20-23). In his presumptuous and impious pride he accepted the adoration of the people, and immediately he was stricken by the stroke of a just and jealous God, his glory fled away, and he went down to the grave a loathsome mass of putrefaction. But Jesus, whom Thomas worshipped, was carried up into heaven, for we read that He led out His disciples "as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. AND THEY WORSHIPPED HIM, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God" (Luke 24:50-53).

It is John, who had been restrained from worshipping an angel (Rev. 22:8-9), who records the meeting of Thomas with his Master, and what a meeting it must have been.

It seems as though it was for Thomas alone, for twice did his Lord address him by name. He discovered that the thoughts of his heart were not hidden from Him, and the wounds which he beheld in that incorruptible flesh were to him mute witnesses to the fact that He was the One who had power to lay down His life and take it again. The scales fell from his eyes, his heart lost its faithlessness, the glory of the Only Begotten was no longer veiled from him, and as his soul was drawn out of the winter of his unbelief, he voiced the worship of his brethren in those true and memorable words, "MY LORD AND MY GOD."

While in the gathering on the resurrection day we have given to us a picture of the relationship in which Christians stand to their Lord and to His Father and God, this second meeting is typical of the time, still to come, when the Lord will show Himself to the remnant of His people Israel, and when they shall say to Him, "What are these wounds in Thine hands?" (Zech. 13:6). And as they look upon Him they, as did Thomas, will recognize Him, and will cry, "Lo, this is our GOD; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isa. 25:9). They will believe when they see Him, but "BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET HAVE BELIEVED."