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?