John 20:24
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus . . .—Comp. Notes on John 11:16; John 14:5. It is in harmony with the desponding character that looks upon the visit to Jerusalem as necessarily leading to death, that he now is as one who has given up the common hope of the band of disciples, and is not present with them. It has happened as he had thought; the death he had foretold has come to pass. Is this the end of all the Messianic hopes which he had cherished? Is the grave the “whither,” and the cross the “way,” which they knew not?

John 20:24-25. But Thomas, called Didymus — That is, the twin; was not with them when Jesus came — The cause of his absence is not mentioned. Possibly it might be affliction, or some other unavoidable hinderance. Through this, however, he missed the satisfaction and happiness of seeing his Master risen, and of sharing with the disciples in their joy upon that occasion. Here we may observe, those know not what they lose who unnecessarily and carelessly absent themselves from the stated, solemn assemblies of the people of God. The other disciples, therefore, said to him — The next time they saw him, and that doubtless with great joy; We have seen the Lord — Relating to him, probably, all that had passed at the time, and particularly the satisfaction Christ had given them, by showing them his hands and his side. But he said, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, &c. — As if he had said, This is a matter of too great importance for me to believe on any report, even on yours; nay, more is necessary to convince me than merely a transient sight of mine own eyes: for unless I shall have the fullest evidence of my own feeling, as well as sight of him, I will not by any means, or any testimony whatsoever, believe that he is risen. “Thus ended the transactions of the day on which our Lord arose from the dead; a day much to be remembered by men throughout all generations, because it brought fully into act the conceptions which had lodged in the breast of Infinite Wisdom from eternity, even those thoughts of love and mercy on which the salvation of the world depended. Christians, therefore, have the highest reason to solemnize this day with gladness each returning week, by ceasing from labour, and giving themselves up to holy meditations, and other exercises of devotion. The redemption of mankind, which they commemorate thereon in its finishing stroke, affords matter for eternal thought, being such a subject as no other, how great soever, can equal; and whose lustre, neither length of time nor frequent reviewing can ever diminish. For, as by often beholding the sun we do not find him less glorious or luminous than before, so this benefit, which we celebrate after so many ages, is as fresh and beautiful as ever, and will continue to be so, flourishing in the memories of all reasonable beings through the endless revolutions of eternity.” — Macknight.20:19-25 This was the first day of the week, and this day is afterwards often mentioned by the sacred writers; for it was evidently set apart as the Christian sabbath, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. The disciples had shut the doors for fear of the Jews; and when they had no such expectation, Jesus himself came and stood in the midst of them, having miraculously, though silently, opened the doors. It is a comfort to Christ's disciples, when their assemblies can only be held in private, that no doors can shut out Christ's presence. When He manifests his love to believers by the comforts of his Spirit, he assures them that because he lives, they shall live also. A sight of Christ will gladden the heart of a disciple at any time; and the more we see of Jesus, the more we shall rejoice. He said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, thus showing that their spiritual life, as well as all their ability for their work, would be derived from him, and depended upon him. Every word of Christ which is received in the heart by faith, comes accompanied by this Divine breathing; and without this there is neither light nor life. Nothing is seen, known, discerned, or felt of God, but through this. After this, Christ directed the apostles to declare the only method by which sin would be forgiven. This power did not exist at all in the apostles as a power to give judgment, but only as a power to declare the character of those whom God would accept or reject in the day of judgment. They have clearly laid down the marks whereby a child of God may be discerned and be distinguished from a false professor; and according to what they have declared shall every case be decided in the day of judgment. When we assemble in Christ's name, especially on his holy day, he will meet with us, and speak peace to us. The disciples of Christ should endeavour to build up one another in their most holy faith, both by repeating what they have heard to those that were absent, and by making known what they have experienced. Thomas limited the Holy One of Israel, when he would be convinced by his own method or not at all. He might justly have been left in his unbelief, after rejecting such abundant proofs. The fears and sorrows of the disciples are often lengthened, to punish their negligence.Whose soever sins ... - See the notes at Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18. It is worthy of remark here that Jesus confers the same power on all the apostles. He gives to no one of them any special authority. If Peter, as the Papists pretend, had been appointed to any special authority, it is wonderful that the Saviour did not here hint at any such pre-eminence. This passage conclusively proves that they were invested with equal power in organizing and governing the church. The authority which he had given Peter to preach the gospel first to the Jews and the Gentiles, does not militate against this. See the notes at Matthew 16:18-19. This authority given them was full proof that they were inspired. The meaning of the passage is not that man can forgive sins that belongs only to God Isaiah 43:23 but that they should be inspired; that in founding the church, and in declaring the will of God, they should be taught by the Holy Spirit to declare on what terms, to what characters, and to what temper of mind God would extend forgiveness of sins. It was not authority to forgive individuals, but to establish in all the churches the terms and conditions on which men might be pardoned, with a promise that God would confirm all that they taught; that all might have assurance of forgiveness who would comply with those terms; and that those who did not comply should not be forgiven, but that their sins should be retained. This commission is as far as possible from the authority which the Roman Catholic claims of remitting sin and of pronouncing pardon. Joh 20:24-29. Jesus Again Appears to the Assembled Disciples.

24, 25. But Thomas—(See on [1920]Joh 11:16).

was not with them when Jesus came—why, we know not, though we are loath to think (with Stier, Alford and Luthardt) it was intentional, from sullen despondency. The fact merely is here stated, as a loving apology for his slowness of belief.

Whether Thomas had ever, since they all forsook our Saviour in the garden and fled, returned again to a communion with the rest, or was absent through some occasion, is not said; but upon this some have started a question, Whether Thomas, being absent, received the Holy Ghost at this time as the rest did? Some think he did not, because of his unbelief. Some of the ancients think he did; for, Numbers 11:26,27, when God gave out the Spirit to the seventy elders, Eldad and Medad, though absent, had their share of it, Numbers 11:27. The matter is not much. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus,.... The person here spoken of, is described by his Hebrew name Thomas, and his Greek one Didymus, which both signify a twin; and perhaps he was one. It was common with the Jews to have two names, a Jewish and a Gentile one; by the one they went in the land of Israel, and by the other when without the land (q); nay, they often went by one name in Judea, and by another in Galilee (r); where Thomas might go by the name of Didymus with the Greeks, that might live with the Jews in some of those parts: he is also said to be "one of the twelve" apostles, which was their number at first, though Judas now was gone off from them, and therefore are sometimes only called the "eleven"; but this having been their complement, it is still retained; but what is observed of him to his disadvantage and discredit is, that he

was not with them when Jesus came: Beza's ancient copy reads, "he was not there with them"; and so read the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions; he either had not returned to the rest after their scattering one from another upon the apprehending of Christ; or did not choose to assemble with the rest, for fear of the Jews; or was taken up with some business and affair of life; however, he was not with the rest of the disciples, when they were assembled together, and Jesus appeared among them: as it is of good consequence to attend the assemblies of Christ's disciples and followers, so it is of bad consequence to neglect or forsake them: it is frequently to good purpose that persons attend them; here God comes and blesses his people, Jesus grants his presence, the graces of the Spirit are increased, and drawn forth into exercise; souls that have lost sight of Christ find him, disconsolate ones are comforted, weak ones strengthened, and hungry ones fed: on the other hand, not to attend is of bad consequence; neglect of assembling together exposes to many snares and temptations; brings on a spiritual leanness; leads to an indifference and lukewarmness: issues in a low degree of grace, and a non-exercise of it, and in a loss of Christ's presence.

(q) T. Hieros. Gittin, fol. 43. 2.((r) T. Hieros. Gittin, fol. 45. 3.

{7} But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

(7) Christ draws out of the unbelief of Thomas a certain and sure testimony of his resurrection.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 20:24-25. ΘωμᾶςΔίδυμος] See on John 11:16.

οὐκ ἦν μετʼ αὐτῶν, εἰκὸς γὰρ, αὐτὸν μετὰ τὸ διασκορπισθῆναι τοὺς μαθητὰςμήπω συνελθεῖν αὐτοῖς, Euth. Zigabenus. There may also have been another reason, and conjectures (Luthardt: melancholy led him to be solitary, similarly Lange) are fruitless.

Thomas shows himself, John 20:25 (comp. on John 14:5), in a critical tendency of mind, in which he does not recognise the statement of eye-witnesses as a sufficient ground of faith. From this, however, we perceive how completely remote from his mind lay the expectation of the resurrection. In the fact that he wished to feel only the wounds of the hands and of the side, some have found a reason against the nailing of the feet to the cross (so still Lücke and De Wette). Erroneously; the above demand was sufficient for him; in feeling the wounds on the feet, he would have required something which would have been too much, and not consistent with decorum. Comp. on Matthew 27:35.

τύπον is then interchanged with τόπον (see critical notes), as correlative to seeing and feeling. Comp. Grotius: “τύπος videtur, τόπος impletur”.

βάλω τὴν χεῖρά μου, κ.τ.λ.] is regarded as a proof of the peculiar greatness of the wounds. But he would lay his hand in truth not in the wounds, but in the side, in order, that is, there to touch with his fingers the wound on the mere skin, which, at the same time, must also have been in so far considerable enough.

Note, further, the circumstantiality in the words of Thomas, on which an almost defiant reliance in his unbelief, not melancholy dejection (Ebrard), is stamped.John 20:24. Θωμᾶς δὲἸησοῦς. Θωμᾶς [תָּאוֹם or תּאֹם a twin, from תָּאַם to be double; of which Δίδυμος from δύο is the Greek equivalent]. εἷς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα “one of the twelve,” the familiar designation still used of the eleven, οὐκ ἦν … “was not with them when Jesus came,” why, we do not know.24–29. The Manifestation to S. Thomas and others

Peculiar to S. John

24. Thomas] See on John 11:16.

the twelve] See on John 6:67.

was not with them] His melancholy temperament might dispose him to solitude and to put no trust in the rumours of Christ’s Resurrection if they reached him on Easter Day. And afterwards his despondency is too great to be removed by the testimony even of eye-witnesses. The test which he selects has various points of contact with the surroundings. The wounds had been the cause of his despair; it is they that must reassure him. The print of them would prove beyond all doubt that it was indeed His Lord that had returned to him. Moreover, the Ten had no doubt told him of their own terror and hesitation, and how Jesus had invited them to ‘handle Him and see’ in order to convince themselves. This would suggest a similar mode of proof to S. Thomas.John 20:24. Ὁ λεγόμενος, who is called) A formula of explaining or translating, similar to that in John 20:16, which is to say. Among the Greeks Thomas was better known by his Greek name [Δίδυμος, a twin, answering to the Heb. Thomas].—οὐκ ἦν μετʼ αὐτῶν, had not been with them) because perhaps he had his dwelling at a greater distance, and had been late in hearing of the resurrection. Afterwards however he became partaker of the gift which is mentioned, John 20:21-23. For neither time, nor place, excludes the Spirit’s operation. Numbers 11:29 [Eldad and Medad in the camp, “the Spirit rested upon them, but they went not out unto the tabernacle,” where the rest of the seventy elders received the Spirit.]Verses 24-29. -

(5) The manifestation made to anxious skepticism, with the blessing on those who have not seen and yet have believed. Verse 24. - This revelation was of supreme importance, and is the climax of the entire Gospel. It is peculiar to John's narrative, and throws light upon the very construction of the Gospel. It reveals the characteristics of honest doubt, and indicates the abundance of the evidence which was offered to specific classes and conditions of mind to help them believe that the Lord had risen. The confession drawn from the heart of this apostle is not only valuable in itself, but it reflects a new luster on the previous manifestation. Moreover, it is cumulative in its argumentative force. The most skeptical is the most enthusiastic of the twelve. But Thomas, one of the twelve (a term of designation for the first group of the apostles, and one which was not renounced, although two of them were absent. The number "twelve" had a symbolic and historic value from its relation to the twelve tribes, and we find (Acts 1.) that the eleven were anxious to fill up the vacant place left by Judas), called Didymus (Greek for "twin," repeated here from John 11:16, not simply to imply that Thomas was best known by his Greek name, but that there was a blending in him of intense love and a fear which had torment, a great ambition and yet exposure to moods of despondency, a desire to treat the whole manifestation of Christ as complete, to believe that the words of the Lord were all sublimely true, - coupled with a ghastly doubt that all was a delusion, a faculty of constructive faith and speculation, of transcendental intuition side by side with an intense desire for sensible manifestation, a greater belief in the Master than in the disciples, but no unwillingness to accept that which was sufficiently established). Thomas was not with them when Jesus came. We can never know why he was absent. He was given to moody fear, and shrank into solitude; and doubtless in many ways and words, as well as those recorded, had implied the wreck of his hopes. Separated from the fellowship of kindred spirits, he augmented his gloom; he was fast tending to unbelief. The state of his mind throughout the Passover week may have been one reason why the apostles delayed their return to Galilee. They may have come frequently to him with their sublime announcement, not once nor twice only.
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