Our Savior’s Nail-Scarred Hands

Open Your Bible

John 20:3-29, 1 Peter 1:8-12

As a serial doubter, I have always loved the resurrection story and its honest portrayal of who was quick to believe Jesus was the risen Christ and who was more skeptical. Historically, I have been more like Thomas, wanting proof and evidence: “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25).

Mary Magdalene’s reaction to the risen Christ differed from that of Thomas. She believed as soon as Jesus spoke her name. “Rabboni!” she cried in recognition (v.16). And later when she saw the disciples, she said with confidence, “I have seen the Lord!” (v.18).

Thomas trusted Jesus’s scars. Mary trusted Jesus’s voice.

In my early twenties, I went through a dark season of doubt. Out in the real world for the first time, surrounded by people who did not believe in Christianity, much less God, I was suddenly very unsure of my own beliefs. I desperately wanted to prove God’s existence to my unbelieving friends—and to myself. So I searched for answers in apologetics, academics, and science, confident that if I could pull enough evidence together, I could believe again, and my friends would too.

During that youthful season, it was not the hard evidence of academics and apologetics that I grew to trust and understand. Ultimately, what pulled me back to faith was this: At some point in my life I had known the risen Christ. I had felt the love of God through Him. I had experienced grace and forgiveness. I was not sure how to prove the existence of God through science, but I could not deny that I had experienced the risen Christ. I had heard Him say my name.

This is not to say investigating our faith is fruitless. After all, Jesus did not chastise Thomas for asking for proof. He gave it to him, saying, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe” (John 20:27). But even today, when I find myself wrestling with questions about God, the Bible, Jesus, or religion, what I return to is not the evidence I’ve gathered, proving His existence. What I remember is the fact that Jesus has touched my life, and I have seen the marks on it as a result.

When the doubt is crippling, when the road before us is unclear, may we remember this day near the tomb. Mary Magdalene thought she had lost her friend, her teacher, her Rabbi. All was sorrow before and around her—and then, she heard Him speak her name. Have you heard Him speak yours?

(47) Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

47 thoughts on "Our Savior’s Nail-Scarred Hands"

  1. Natalie Tucker says:

    I am so much a Thomas in my faith right now – I want to believe so badly, but I am terrified of getting hurt or being let down. I think that’s what Thomas was doing- he was protecting his heart. He could not bear getting his Hope’s up that the Lord had risen just to be disappointed and fall into even deeper mourning. I am praying that the Lord will heal my heart – that He will be patient with me like he was with Thomas. Lord help me to surrender to your love without fear!

  2. Jen Nohrenberg says:

    “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” //// what a crazy foreshadowing of the beautiful, intimate, personal relationship we would know in Christ through grace and the Spirit after He ascended.

  3. Lisa Macdonald says:

    Wow- I’m usually pretty solid in my beliefs, but strangely yesterday out of nowhere I had doubts- I prayed specifically “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” before opening today’s reading or even seeing the topic… what an amazing (immediate) answer to prayer!!
    “Jesus has touched my life and I’ve seen the marks on it as a result.” This is everything I needed today.
    Thank you Lord for your incredible, gentle graciousness

  4. Tori Espinosa says:

    Thank you for this insight today. I finally feel like someone understands what I’ve been going through these past few years. I really appreciate Andrea’s honesty and vulnerability with her doubt because that’s the rut that I’ve been in. Praise be to God that he still chooses us despite our periods of unbelief, our sinful actions and our broken hearts. I know I’m late to post, but this devotional was what I’ve been needing to hear for a while.

  5. Shaina Lee says:

    I was going a rough season of my life when I was dating my previous boyfriend at the time. The sin that we both carried together weighed me down daily. I had no hope and I feared that God would not love me anymore if I confessed my sins. As days went by, my heart could no longer take the conviction on my heart. God called me by my name and said, “Shaina, I love you and I’ve always been by your side. Choose me and I’ll show you forevermore.”. I thought that through this sin I was living in, I’d never be forgiven. But through the grace of God, I’ve been forgiven. God was there by me every step of the way and by Him I was able to overcome.

  6. Steph C says:

    Mary knew the voice of her Savior as He spoke her name. I too have been through seasons of doubt. Where I have listened to other voices instead of His. In the end, it has not been the study of scholars or the persuasive argument of a friend that has drawn me back. It was His still, small voice kindly wooing me back to His loving embrace. So thankful for a loving Father who draws me back into His love and light when I have followed the path of doubt into the darkness of despair

  7. Leah P says:

    I have always loved the intimacy of Jesus calling Mary by name, and thinking of the comfort that moment would have brought to her

  8. Emily Mulder says:

    I love that it said that Thomas trusted Jesus’ scars. And Mary trusted His voice. everyone trusts and believes Jesus differently. Sometimes i trust his voice more than his evidence, other times the opposite. That resonated with me.

  9. Leslie Sesser says:

    I am a serial doubter too and regard Thomas as one of my favorite people in the Bible because I understand his doubt, but the account of Mary struck me this morning. She recognized Jesus by his voice. I pray that I will better recognize Jesus by his voice.

  10. Bunny says:

    Gramsiesue, Jesus was with you! How scary! Glad your hubby was able to stop him. Was he someone you knew? How is the employee doing? Thanks for sharing how God has touched your lives and is continuing to keep you safe.

  11. Jenny Sue DeWalt says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these specific, encouraging examples!

  12. Jenny Sue DeWalt says:

    Jesus rose. Hallelujah. I am so thankful that He did not leave us without hope, that He is such a good GOD. I am fascinated as I read about the different people in this account and the ways they responded differently in their grief, and in the face of possible hope. Mary seems like she was stumbling around, dazed and confused, looking for answers. It seems that she’s not phased by the unearthly sight of angels sitting on the place where Jesus lay. She is so honed in to finding Jesus’s body in her grief, that she just answers their question and moves on. When her risen Savior repeats the same question, she doesn’t dramatically react either. When He doesn’t give her the information she is seeking, she turns to stumble on through the mind-searing grief to find the body of her Beloved so she can array it with respect. And then Jesus says her name. Something most familiar. Mary. O her heart! How it must have jumped and surged with joy and all-consuming delight as she finally recognized her Redeemer calling HER name. And then I think of precious Thomas. Even though all his friends, his most trusted brothers, honestly and adamantly assured him that they had seen the Lord, he didn’t believe. He couldn’t. He dared not tempt his heart to trust so easily and be torn in two once more. He needed the cold facts. He was defiant, taunting even, in his faithlessness, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Never ever. But the Almighty God heard his specific request. And He waited until the disciples were INdoors to answer Thomas’ breaking heart’s plea. He came right thru the door without opening it, as He IS THE DOOR. Thomas was one of His sheep, and reiterating his exact demands, Jesus beckoned Thomas to “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.” Don’t be faithless, but believe. Give me faith, God, in my times of doubt. Let me recognize Your voice when I’m stumbling around in grief. And in this season of celebration after Your resurrection, fill me with Your joy, and send me too to share the Good News–You have risen, just as You said. Amen.

  13. Terrisa Stewart says:

    That was powerful! I wrestle daily between the two extremes, wanting prove and belief in the unseen. It is comforting to read Jesus’ response to Thomas. Knowing that my Saviour will not scold me for seeking proof. In fact He will offer it and charge me to let go of my doubt.

  14. Courtney Tabor says:

    I feel like I’ve been Mary so many times in my life. Sitting, weeping over something. Maybe something of the world or when I try to fix things in my life instead of going to Jesus. I imagine Jesus is standing over me asking me “courtney, why are you crying?” But i don’t recognize Him because I’m so caught up in this world, in my emotions, I can’t see past them. I imagine Jesus saying my name again, just pleading with me to look to Him for my comfort, to realize He is alive and wants to comfort me!
    Thank you Jesus for pursing my heart every day, for comforting me, for holding me.
    I struggle with trying to control my life instead of handing it to Jesus. This reading today just reminds even more that I should hand it all to Him.

  15. Rochelle says:

    I have to admit, I am a doubter from time to time. I am so very thankful I have found truth to cling to through this site and community of other like minded women who are desperately seeking after God.

  16. J C says:

    I am ashamed to state this but I am often a doubter… not in Jesus Christ and what he can do, but I want to be shown. I am praying and working through this and know God will continue to be patient with me just as Jesus was with Thomas. He continues to amaze me and show me just how much he loves me.

  17. Lori says:

    “Who is it that you are seeking?” Isn’t that a key question of faith – God, let me now put my faith in the temporary things and people of this world and see Jesus alone!

  18. Nicole Earp says:

    This is is so wonderful! I recently had a conversation with someone about how our experiences can’t be used as proof of our faith in God and his sovereignty, his argument was that we’re only to use scripture … what a Wondering take on such a wonderful story. It’s amazing how many times you can hear and read a scripture yet God is so faithful to make it fresh and relevant each time ❤️

  19. Ana Love says:

    Beautiful reading. When I read this I’m reminded of God’s grace for Thomas. Jesus spent so much of His time teaching the disciples to trust and believe. Yet Thomas so quickly required physical proof.

    I’m often like Thomas and see those who believe quickly as naive but then I remembers many verses that praise those who’s faith is childlike and trust is unwavering. Thank you Lord for your patience and love for us.

  20. Mari V says:

    He calls MY name!

    1. Lori Wat says:


  21. Beth Meagher says:

    What a grace and mercy to know that Thomas, chosen by Jesus who traveled with and knew Jesus, expressed doubt OUT LOUD. Jesus in the flesh did not preclude doubt in his faithful disciple. Easy to think I would not experience doubt if, just once, I could see Jesus in the flesh. Thankful for the continual presence of the Spirit.

  22. GramsieSue says:

    Yes. Jesus has touched my life. In oh so many ways. I could fill pages and pages. A neighbor showing up on our doorstep with a dinner casserole saying, “My husband won’t eat leftovers. Will you eat the rest?” Two pieces were missing from a 9 x 13 dish. Without it our 4 children would not have had dinner that night. Oh yes, He provides.

    In the midst of raising our children, taking care of business and home, our marriage began to suffer. Another woman came into the picture. Accusations, lies, tears. All seemed lost. But God….oh yes. He redeems.

    And last week. A gunman entered the building of the business we own. Angry. Grieving. He grabbed an employee and held him at gunpoint. My husband spoke calmly, persuaded him to release the terrified man. And another young man tackled him from behind. He and my husband wrestled the gun away just seconds before the police arrive. No one was hurt. Oh yes. He protects.

    Don’t ever think He’s not with you. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He keeps His promises.

    Blessings, Sisters. ❤️

  23. Susan says:

    The Resurrected King is resurrecting me!

  24. Colleen Garnto says:

    Thank you, Jesus, that you have called my name!

  25. Allison says:

    My favorite part about Easter is that He Lives every day! On this Monday, next week, as we get back to our lives after a busy holiday. He still Lives! And I am still His! Hallelujah! Have a great week sisters!

  26. Sue says:

    Mary is crying and Jesus goes to her.

    The disciples are gathererd together, Jesus goes to them, and twice Jesus says “Peace be with you.”

    Jesus comes to me as well.

    He calls me by name, He shows me compassion, and He gives me peace.

    Indeed, Jesus ‘has touched my life, and I have seen the marks on it as a result.’

    May I be like Mary and tell others “I have seen the Lord!” so they may see Him and believe as well.

  27. Courtney Stanback says:

    I have really benefited from being able to read passages from different books of the Bible on the same page in this study – wow – the transformation in Peter’s life- his heart and his mind

  28. Churchmouse says:

    Jesus’s post-Resurrection appearances are marked by His greeting “Peace be with you.” Because He is risen we can all have peace, be at peace. He conquered death and imparted His Resurrection power and hope to all who believe. Even as the Father had sent Him out, so does He send us out. We will face misunderstanding, skepticism, rejection, and persecution for our faith. Yet, we can walk in peace, the peace He gives, the peace that the world surely doesn’t understand. Indeed, His peace passes understanding. May we walk this journey of faith in peaceful confidence because He is alive!

    1. Carolyn Wollman says:


  29. Sarah says:

    “But even today, when I find myself wrestling with questions about God, the Bible, Jesus, or religion, what I return to is not the evidence I’ve gathered, proving His existence. What I remember is the fact that Jesus has touched my life, and I have seen the marks on it as a result.” Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for this, Andrea. I needed to be reminded of this.

    1. Lori Wat says:

      Me too!!! Loving this reminder.

  30. Shawn Parks says:

    Several years ago I saw a movie called “Jesus”. This specific scene in the movie touched my heart because in the portrayal of Mary turning away from the tomb weeping encountering, but not recognizing Jesus, when he said her name it was with such joy and excitement. He was full of joy to see her! Although I do base my faith on Hollywood’s interpretation of the scripture, this one scene did make me realize the great joy that Jesus would have had with being reunited with a loved one and in knowing that she would finally understand his mission and the life changing implication of his purpose. I believe that he speaks to my heart with the same joy and that I will hear the joy in his voice again when he welcomes me home, “Shawn!” I will live in ever eager expectation of that joyful day!

  31. Susan Reagon says:

    Praying today for those killed ,maimed and injured in the Sri Lanka bombings.Praying for relatives and friends grieving for their loved ones.May the risen Christ stand among them to comfort and bless

  32. Meg Herndon says:


  33. Angie says:

    My mother-in-law has been dealing with terminal cancer since January. There have been difficulties and blessings while God is good, all the time. She is getting close to the end. She is a solid believer in Jesus Christ as Lord, and yet, she has an unrest about that moment when she passes from life to death. She trusts faithfully, and yet the unknown brings unrest. We were talking about that yesterday in the hospital. I told her that my understanding is that the transition will be in the blink of an eye – here and the next moment – with Jesus. I also told her that I believe, because Jesus is peace we will be saturated in pure Peace. I said if nothing else, we can look, see, and hold his nail pierced hands as we walk into eternity together.

    Jesus himself took human form, bore the scars this world offers, and returned to the Father to prepare a place for us. One day those nail pierced hands will hold ours. One day His voice will say our name and His eyes will penetrate our souls flooding us with everything that is pure, perfect, and peace because that is who He is and we are His.

    Thank you Jesus.
    Selah (forever)

    1. Bessie H says:

      What beautiful words of comfort and hope you have given your mother in law and us. I am praying for you all.

    2. Shawn Parks says:

      What a beautiful truth. Thank you! I will pray for you and your family during this precious time!

    3. Audrye L says:

      Praying for you all. Im thankful she has you to remind her of truth.

    4. Terri Gauldin says:

      I have walked that same road with my mother. I know it’s not the same for everyone but I also know this- death was not the enemy. Cancer was. The suffering was. The pain was. And in the end all we wanted for her was for that to be gone and for her to be with Jesus where the enemy was no longer present. It was sad but it was an incredible moment. As I held her hand and prayed with her and assured her we would all be fine until we meet again, the Lord was so gracious, so kind and so full of life giving peace. At a time when my mother’s earthy life was slipping away, I felt the new life and promises of Jesus filling in those gaps. And when she had passed, she was the most beautiful I had ever seen her. Moments before her brow was furrowed, her breathing labored, her skin splotchy, her color fading. And in an instant, she looked whole and well and at peace. The beauty that filled that room during that time is indescribable. I pray for you and her and that the same peace that comforted us, will comfort you.

      1. Jaime Lopez says:

        Wow, what a testimony! ❤️

    5. Jaime Lopez says:

      Wow, beautiful words. I will be be praying for peace for your mother-in-law. Praise God she has you to speak words of truth to her when her heart is troubled.

    6. Julie Smith says:

      I agree what beautiful and comforting words.

    7. Kelly Douglass says:

      Bless her (your mother in law) and your family. The unknown can be so hard but I am so thankful we have Jesus, the known, to help us in transitions like passing from this world to eternity. My sister is also getting close to the end and every day I find myself saying “how do people go through things like this without Jesus” He is my hope ❤️

  34. Lesley says:

    Thomas often gets a hard time for not believing, but reading this passage it strikes me that he’s not the only one.
    The disciple with Peter – presumably John (in V8)- is the only one who really believes without seeing.
    Mary is blinded by her grief, the other disciples hide in fear behind locked doors, even after hearing Mary’s testimony…
    And yet whatever the reasons they- and we- may struggle to believe, Jesus draws close to them. In the midst of their confusion, sorrow, fear, doubt, and stubbornness, he comes to them, showing them that he is alive and the hope is real!

  35. Clare says:

    Tega – Thank you for this insight, I have never seen it like that – Jesus had so much compassion for her hurt, pain and fear that he ‘interrupted’ his plan and went to her to comfort her. Our God is not removed and distant, he is loving and gentle and kind. Thank you Jesus!

  36. Tega Adogbeji says:

    The disciples left but Mary stood weeping at the tomb and Jesus was forced to dry her tears before ascending to Heaven. He really said he is closer to those in affliction. I love this God, he is Love! I am so grateful for the gift of salvation. Lord help me to be an expression of you daily