And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thomas answered and said unto him.—It is implied that he did not make use of the tests which his Master offered him, but that he at once expressed the fulness of his conviction. This is confirmed by the words of the next verse, “Because thou hast seen Me.”
My Lord and my God.—These words are preceded by “said unto him,” and are followed by “because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed;” and the words “my Lord” can only be referred to Christ. (Comp. John 20:13.) The sentence cannot therefore, without violence to the context, be taken as an exclamation addressed to God, and is to be understood in the natural meaning of a confession by the Apostle that his Lord was also God.
1. There is no evidence that this was a mere expression, as some have supposed, of surprise or astonishment.
2. The language was addressed to Jesus himself - "Thomas ...said unto him."
3. The Saviour did not reprove him or check him as using any improper language. If he had not been divine, it is impossible to reconcile it with his honesty that he did not rebuke the disciple. No pious man would have allowed such language to be addressed to him. Compare Acts 14:13-15; Revelation 22:8-9.
4. The Saviour proceeds immediately to commend Thomas for believing; but what was the evidence of his believing? It was this declaration, and this only. If this was a mere exclamation of surprise, what proof was it that Thomas believed? Before this he doubted. Now he believed, and gave utterance to his belief, that Jesus was his Lord and his God.
5. If this was not the meaning of Thomas, then his exclamation was a mere act of profaneness, and the Saviour would not have commended him for taking the name of the Lord his God in vain. The passage proves, therefore, that it is proper to apply to Christ the name Lord and God, and thus accords with what John affirmed in John 1:1, and which is established throughout this gospel.My Lord, to whom I wholly yield and give up my self; and my God, in whom I believe. It is observed, that this is the first time that in the Gospel the name of God is given to Christ; he was now by his resurrection declared to be the Son of God with power, Revelation 1:4. So as Thomas did not show more weakness and unbelief at the first, than he showed faith at last, being the first that acknowledged Christ as God over all blessed for ever, the object of people’s faith and confidence, and his Lord, to whom he freely yielded up himself as a servant, to be guided and conducted by him.
my Lord and my God; he owns him to be Lord, as he was both by creation and redemption; and God, of which he was fully assured from his omniscience, which he had given a full proof of, and from the power that went along with his words to his heart, and from a full conviction he now had of his resurrection from the dead. He asserts his interest in him as his Lord and his God; which denotes his subjection to him, his affection for him, and faith in him; so the divine word is called in Philo the Jew, , "my Lord" (x).And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 20:28-29. The doubts of Thomas, whose faith did not now require actual contact (hence also merely ἑώρακας, John 20:29), are converted into a straightforward and devoted confession; comp. John 11:16.
ὁ κύριός μου κ. ὁ θεός μου] is taken by Theodore of Mopsuestia (“quasi pro miraculo facto Deum collaudat,” ed. Fritzsche, p. 41) as an exclamation of astonishment directed to God. So recently, in accordance with the Socinians (see against these Calovius), especially Paulus. Decisively opposed to this view is εἶπεν αὐτῷ, as well as the necessary reference of ὁ κύρ. μου to Christ. It is a confessionary invocation of Christ in the highest joyful surprise, in which Thomas gives the fullest expression of profound emotion to his faith, which had been mightily elevated by the conviction of the reality of the resurrection, in the divine nature of his Lord. The powerful emotion certainly appears in and of itself little fitted to qualify this exclamation, which Ewald even terms exaggerated for the dogmatic conception; but this is outweighed (1) by the account of John himself, who could find in this exclamation only an echo of his own θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, and of the self-testimonies of Jesus concerning His divine nature; (2) and chiefly by the approval of the Lord which follows. Erasmus aptly says: “Agnovit Christus utique repulsurus, si falso dictus fuisset Deus.” Note further (1) the climax of the two expressions; (2) how the amazed disciple keeps them apart from one another with a solemn emphasis by repeating the article and the μου. This μου, again, is the outflow “ex vivo et serio fidei sensu,” Calvin.
John 20:29. The ὁ κύριός μ. κ. ὁ θεός μου was the complete and highest confession of Messianic faith, by the rendering of which, therefore, the above μὴ γίνου … πιστός was already fulfilled. But it was the consequence of the having seen the Risen One, which he should not have required to do, considering the sufficient ground of conviction which lay in the assurance of his fellow-disciples as eye-witnesses. Hence the loving reproof (not eulogy, which Paulus devises, but also not a confirmation of the contents of faith as conferred by Thomas, as Luthardt assumes, which is first implied in μακάριοι, κ.τ.λ.) for him who has attained in this sensuous way to decisive faith, and the ascription of blessedness to those who, without such a sensuous conviction, have become believers,—this is to be left as a general truth, and not to be referred to the other disciples, since it is expressed in a general way, and, in accordance with the supersensuous and ethical nature of faith, is universally valid. In detail, note further: (1) to read πεπίστευκας interrogatively (with Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, Ewald) makes the element of reproof in the words, indicated by the emphatic (comp. John 1:51) precedence of ὅτι ἑώρ. με, appear with more vivid prominence; (2) the perf. is: thou hast become believing and believest now; the aor. participles ἰδόντες and πιστεύσ. do not denote wont (Lücke), which usage is never found in the N. T., and would here yield no suitable meaning, but those who, regarded from the point of time of the μακαριότης predicated of them, have not seen, and yet have believed; they have become believers without having first seen. (3) The point of time of the μακαριότης is, in correspondence with the general proposition, the universal present, and the μακαριότης itself is the happiness which they enjoy through the already present, and one day the eternal, possession of the Messianic ζωή. (4) The μακαριότης is not denied to Thomas, but for his warning the rule is adduced, to which he also ought to have subjected himself, and the danger is pointed out to him in which one is placed if one demands sight as a way to faith, as he has done. (5) The antithesis to the present passage is, therefore, not that of faith on account of that which has externally taken place, and of faith certain in itself of its contents (Baur, comp. Scholten), but of faith (in a thing that has taken place) with and without a personal and peculiar perception of it by the senses. (6) How significant is the declaration μακάριοι, κ.τ.λ., standing at the close of the Johannean Gospel! The entire historical further development of the church rests in truth upon the faith which has not seen. Comp. 1 Peter 1:8.
 See Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 374.John 20:28. Grotius, following Tertullian, Ambrose, Cyril and others, is of opinion that Thomas availed himself of the offered test: surely it is psychologically more probable that the test he had insisted on as alone sufficient is now repudiated, and that he at once exclaims, Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου. His faith returns with a rebound and utters itself in a confession in which the gospel culminates. The words are not a mere exclamation of surprise. That is forbidden by εἶπεν αὐτῷ; they mean “Thou art my Lord and my God”. The repeated pronoun lends emphasis. In Pliny’s letter to Trajan (112 A.D.) he describes the Christians as singing hymns to Christ as God. Our Lord does not reject Thomas’ confession; but (John 20:29) reminds him that there is a higher faith than that which springs from visual evidence: Ὅτι ἑώρακάς με … καὶ πιστεύσαντες. Jesus would have been better pleased with a faith which did not require the evidence of sense: a faith founded on the perception that God was in Christ, and therefore He could not die; a faith in His Messiahship which argued that He must live to carry on the work of His Kingdom. The saying is cited as another instance of the care with which the various origins and kinds of faith are distinguished in this gospel.28. And Thomas answered] Omit ‘and.’ This answer and Christ’s comment, ‘because thou hast seen,’ seem to shew that S. Thomas did not use the test which he had demanded. In accordance with his desponding temperament he had underrated the possibilities of being convinced.
My Lord and my God] Most unnatural is the Unitarian view, that these words are an expression of astonishment addressed to God. Against this are (1) the plain and conclusive ‘said unto Him;’ (2) the words ‘my Lord,’ which manifestly are addressed to Christ (comp. John 20:13); (3) the fact that this confession of faith forms a climax and conclusion to the whole Gospel. The words are rightly considered as an impassioned declaration on the part of a devoted but (in the better sense of the term) sceptical Apostle of his conviction, not merely that his Risen Lord stood before him, but that this Lord was also his God. And it must be noted that Christ does not correct His Apostle for this avowal, any more than He corrected the Jews for supposing that He claimed to be ‘equal with God’ (John 5:18-19); on the contrary He accepts and approves this confession of belief in His Divinity.John 20:28. Αὐτῷ, unto Him) Therefore it was Jesus whom he called Lord and God, and that too, his Lord and his God: which is in consonance with the language which is recorded in John 20:17 : nor do these words form a mere exclamation. The disciples had said, τὸν Κύριον, the Lord, John 20:25 : now Thomas, being recalled to faith, not merely acknowledges Jesus to be Lord, as previously he had himself acknowledged, and that He was risen again, as his fellow-disciples were affirming; but even confesses His Godhead in a higher sense than any one had yet confessed. Moreover, the language is abrupt through the suddenness of the feeling excited in him, in this sense, “My Lord and my God,” I believe and acknowledge that Thou art my Lord and my God: and the absolute appellation has the force of an enunciation. A similar Vocative occurs twice in John 20:16, also in Hosea 2:23, “I will say, thou, my people, and they shall say, Thou, my God.” Artemonius in Part i. ch. 24, with which comp. the pref. p. 20 and p. d. 2, brings forward a new explanation, whereby Thomas is made to call Jesus Lord, and the Father who exists in Him inseparably, God: but in that case Thomas would not have addressed both titles unto Him (αὐτῷ); but would have been addressing the one to Jesus, the other to the Father, by a sudden apostrophe, [When the language is suddenly turned to another person present or absent, differently from what was the intention of the speaker at the beginning. Append.] which by no means accords with the admiring astonishment of Thomas. If this had been the intention of Thomas, John would not have added, αὐτῷ, unto Him. Thomas had not before expressly rejected faith in God the Father, but he had, in the case of Christ: therefore now it is not in the Father that he declares expressly his believing again, but in Christ. [This confession moreover is approved of in the following verse.—V. g.]Verse 28. - Thomas answered and said to him. Before, so far as we know, any gesture or effort was made on his part to accept the tests which had been so rashly demanded, but so graciously offered. He already found evidence which was far more efficacious than that which he in gross and sensuous fashion had thought indispensable for his peculiarly constituted mind. Before doing more than fill his hungry eyes with these identifying signs of the Lord's actual objective presence, he did in reality touch his Lord by other powers than finger or hand. He bounded from the depths of despondency to the very top of faith, and he "answered" - he responded to the proof he had already received of the Lord's triumph over death, and to the seal that had now been set upon the Lord's own supreme and majestic claims, by an adoring cry. Thomas "said to him." Observe it is not hinted that he uttered a vague and ejaculatory cry to the eternal Father (as Theodore of Mopsuestia, modern rationalists and Unitarians have repeatedly urged - a speculation which is wrecked on the εϊπεν αὐτῷ). Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God. This is the first time that any of the disciples had ever drawn this lofty conclusion of love and reason. They had called him "the Son of God," "the Lord," as a Being of quite immeasurable claims; and John, in the prologue, after years of meditation, declared that "the Logos which was God" and "with God," and the Creator of all things, and "the Light and Life," had "become flesh," and flashed forth" the glory of the only begotten Son," even in his earthly life; but it was reserved for the most depressed and skeptical mind of them all, the honest doubter, the man who needed immediate and irresistible evidence, infallible proofs, triumphant, invincible demonstrations - it was reserved for Thomas to say TO HIM, and to say unrebuked, uncondemned, by the risen Lord," MY LORD AND MY GOD!" Herein is condensed into one burning utterance from the worried heart of humanity the slowly gathering conclusion which had been steadily inwrought in the mind of his disciples by all the teachings of the Savior. It was at last spontaneous and exultant. These words are the climax of the entire Gospel. Every narrative points on to this unchallenged utterance. From the wedding at Cana to the raising of Lazarus, from the testimony of the Baptist to the awful tones of intercessory prayer, every discourse, every miracle, points on to this superlative conclusion, not breathed in loving accents by the enthusiastic Mary, not sounded forth by the rock-like apostle, not whispered in awestruck affection by the beloved disciple, but wrung from the broken heart of the man who had said, "Let us go, that we may die with him;" of him who cried, "We know not whither thou goest: how can we know the way?" of him who had said, "Unless I see the print of the nails, I will not believe." It is not long before it is notorious that St. Paul spoke of him as "God blessed forever," called him the" Image of the invisible God," as endowed with "the Name that is above every name," as "set down on the right hand of the majesty on high;" that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews called him the "express Image of the Father's substance," and "the Effulgence of the Father's glory." The earliest testimonies of heathendom confess that Christians sang hymns to Christ as to God (Pliny, 'Letter to Trajan')! but this was the hour of the great confession; this was the birth-cry of Christendom; this was the epoch-making scene, which guided the pen of John from the prologue to the close of the Gospel Thus Thomas doubted that the Church might believe. Thomas did indeed die with his Master, that he might lead a multitude of the dead from their hopelessness and unrest to the resurrection-life. He received a full and all-sufficing evidence of the supernatural and Divine life, and eighteen hundred years of faith have blessed God for the victory which Thomas gained over his despondency, and for the climacteric force with which St. John tells us of it.
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