24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Jesus now, in 20:24-29, appeared to Thomas. The progress of his belief climaxed in his seeing Jesus personally for himself. He was unconvinced until he saw the Lord. He established the bodily proof that he wanted. His skepticism was confronted by the risen Christ.
Now Thomas, called the Twin,
Thomas was the next person to whom Jesus appeared.
one of the twelve,
The word “twelve” here indicates that Jesus spoke to apostles in the upper room. There were only 10 there at this time, but the term “twelve” indicates that the group was still technically called “the twelve.” It is the 12 minus Judas. Jesus did not offer the commission in this context to any but the apostles.
was not with them when Jesus came.
Thomas was not in the upper room with the apostles at first. We do not know why he was not there.
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
The apostles excitedly told Thomas that they saw the Lord face to face. Calling Jesus “Lord” was suitable for His resurrected state.
So he [Thomas] said [kept saying] to them,
Thomas rejected the eyewitness of the other apostles.
“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side,
Thomas wanted to personally see the empirical evidence of Jesus’ resurrection for himself. Maybe the thought that Jesus rose from the dead was too wonderful for him to accept; he could not bear the thought that it was not true.
I will not [emphatic, never ever] believe.”
Thomas insisted in an emphatic way that he would “not” believe. His statement means that he would “never” believe without evidence that it was Christ risen. He used the emphatic double negative in the Greek.
Incredulity can produce obstinacy.
Thomas was willing to believe, but on his own terms. He was not willing to accept the resurrection of Christ readily. He met the apostles’ testimony with blank incredulity. He demanded empirical evidence, factual proof. It was not enough on his terms to see the scars; he wanted to touch the scars for himself.
Many believers are skeptical about the dynamics of Christianity (He 3:12). They function in frank, flat disbelief. It seems that nothing will persuade them; they have their minds made up.