Did Jesus’ Blessing of Thomas’s Testimony Mean That Jesus Agreed with Thomas Calling Him God?

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐‰๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฌโ€™ ๐๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐“๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌโ€™๐ฌ ๐“๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐จ๐ง๐ฒ ๐Œ๐ž๐š๐ง ๐“๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐‰๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐€๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐“๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ ๐‚๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐‡๐ข๐ฆ ๐†๐จ๐?

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


Christians often quote Thomas’s statement in John 20:28 where he said “My Lord and My God” to Jesus when he saw him. Muslims argue back that Thomas said it out of surprise. However, Christians argue back that Jesus blessed the testimony of Thomas and therefore acknowledged that Thomas was right in calling him God. 

However, we need to read the context and see why Jesus blessed the testimony of Thomas…

John 20:24-29

24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The context in no way shows that Jesus blessed the testimony of Thomas for him calling Jesus God. Now after Jesus’ alleged resurrection, there were some who doubted that it was himย (Matthew 28:17).ย Apparently, Thomas was one of them. He did not believe that Jesus could have been resurrected from the dead. He did not even believe the disciples when they told him that they saw Jesus resurrected. So, Jesus in order to make Thomas believe that it was him who actually resurrected from the dead had Thomas put his finger in his wound.ย 

Then after that Thomas made the exclamatory remark in verse 28, “My Lord and My God” because he finally recognized and acknowledged that it was truly Jesus that resurrected from the dead. So, then Jesus blesses Thomas in verse 29 for finally realizing that it was him who was resurrected from the dead.ย 

That is all, plain and simple. 

Why on earth would Thomas call Jesus his God anyway? What is the special thing that Jesus did to prove he was God? His resurrection? But we all believe that we are going to resurrect one day on the Day of Judgment by the will of God.

Plus, others resurrected…

Matthew 27:52-53

52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.ย 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Prophets of the Old Testament resurrected people from the dead by the will of God. (2 Kings 4:18-37, 1 Kings 17:17-22 etc.)

Jesus did absolutely nothing special for Thomas to even call him God, so Thomas’s remark is best explained as an expression of surprise.

Thomas’s Confession ‘My Lord and my God!

First let us define what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain…

Thou shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain, make use of the name Lord or God, or any other name and epithet of the divine Being, in a light and trifling way, without any show of reverence of him, and affection to him, whereas the name of God ought never to be mentioned but in a grave and serious manner, and with an awe of the greatness of his majesty upon the mind. 

The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan restrain this to swearing by the name of the Lord; and so, the Jewish writers generally interpret it either of swearing lightly, rashly, or falsely; and to this it may very well be extended, though not limited; and so, forbids, as all profane oaths; imprecations, and curses by the name of God,

Which the mouths of wicked men are full of, so swearing by it in matters trivial, and of no importance; for swearing even by the name of the Lord ought not to be used but in matters of moment and consequence, for the confirmation of a thing, and putting an end to strife, and where a matter cannot be determined and decided without an appeal to God. 

And great care should be taken that a man swears to that which is true, and not false; for false swearing, or perjury, is a very grievous sin, and as it is strictly forbidden, it is severely punished by the Lord, as follows; see Leviticus 19:12, this is the third command, and the reason enforcing it follows:

for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name is vain; will not look upon him as an innocent person, and treat him as such; will not acquit and discharge him as just and righteous; but on the contrary will consider him as a guilty person, a profaner of his name, and a transgressor of his law.

And will condemn and punish him, if not in this world, yet in the world to come; and so, the Targum of Jonathan, by way of explanation, adds, “in the day of the great judgment;” see Malachi 3:5. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on Exodus 20:7

So, as you see, just because someone might say God’s name as an expression or surprise, that does not mean that he used God’s name in vain. He did not insult God in any way.

He did not ridicule or degrade God in any way. If that was the case then every time any of us say “Oh My God!” in a state of surprise then that would mean that we are committing a gross sin, which is nonsense. 

The word for Lord in John 13 is kurios which could mean…

1) he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding, master, lord

a) the possessor and disposer of a thing

1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah

For Synonyms see entry 5830

Source: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/2/1146495209-8167.html 

So big deal, Jesus had a title honor to be called Lord as it signified being a master of a servant. Many others were also called Lord in the Old Testament. So that proves nothing. 

The word kurios is the same word that Thomas called Jesus in John 20:28.

I could care less about the interpretation of the New Testament authors. I want to see what Jesus said about himself directly. 

Plus, others might disagree with you Sam regarding John 1:1…

http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=61 (Part 1)

http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=247  (Part 2)

So, what if Thomas was talking directly to Jesus? He could still have said My Lord (referring to Jesus) and My God (referring to the Father) in a state of shock. 

If I haven’t seen my mom in a long time and then out of nowhere, she steps into the room to surprise me and then I say, “My mom and my God!” Does that mean I called my mom my God? I exclaimed “My Momโ€ in realizing that the individual was my mom and “My God” to express the shock that I felt seeing her. 

Michaelis, a Trinitarian, writes:

I do not affirm that Thomas passed all at once from the extreme of doubt to the highest degree of faith and acknowledged Christ to be the true God. This appears to me too much for the then existing knowledge of the disciples; and we have no intimation that they recognized the divine nature of Christ before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

I am therefore inclined to understand this expression, which broke out in the height of his astonishment, in a figurative sense, denoting only โ€œwhom I shall ever reverence in the highest degree. Or a person raised from the dead might be regarded as a divinity; for the word God is not always used in the strict doctrinal senseโ€ (Concessions of Trinitarians, pp. 23-25.

Plus, even if Thomas was calling Jesus theos, which is the Greek word for God in the verse, that does not necessarily mean that Thomas was calling Jesus his God.

Jesus never referred to himself as โ€œGodโ€ in the absolute sense, so what precedent did Thomas have for calling Jesus โ€œmy Godโ€? 

The Greek language uses the word theos, (โ€œGodโ€ or โ€œgodโ€) with a broader meaning than is customary today.

In the Greek language and in the culture of the day, โ€œGODโ€ (all early manuscripts of the Bible were written in all capital letters) was a descriptive title applied to a range of authorities, including the Roman governor (Acts 12:22), and even the Devil (2 Cor. 4:4). It was used by someone with divine authority. 

It was not limited to its absolute sense as a personal name for the supreme Deity as we use it today.

Plus, the word theos could mean…

1) a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities

2) the Godhead, trinity

a) God the Father, the first person in the trinity

b) Christ, the second person of the trinity

c) Holy Spirit, the third person in the trinity

3) spoken of the only and true God

a) refers to the things of God

b) his counsels, interests, things due to him

4) whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way

a) God’s representative or viceregent

1) of magistrates and judges

Source: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/2/1146495562-6861.html 

So, the word theos could possibly mean God’s representative. 

However, non-Muslims still did not provide evidence or show what was the spectacular thing that Jesus did to provoke Thomas to call him God. Sam says that Jesus resurrecting from the dead proved his divinity. But I already showed in my previous article that others have raised from the dead as well.

Plus, if Jesus’ resurrection was the ultimate proof that he was God then why didn’t Mary Magdalene call Jesus God once she saw him after his resurrection?

Instead, what does she call him?…

John 20:16

16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” 

Mary called Jesus Rabboni, which basically was a title of honor that means master. So why didn’t she just go ahead and call Jesus God if Jesus supposedly proved himself to be God by his resurrection?

Okay fineย ย Weย ย believe that Jesus is the Christ as well. Yes, Jesus is the son of God according to Hebrew terminology in which it means servant of God. Same thing that Adam was calledย (Luke 3:38)

Plus, likeย ย Weย said beforeย ย Weย could care less about what the New Testament writersโ€™ interpretations are,ย ย Weย just want to see what Jesus said.ย 

Well obviously, John Gill is a Christian and is going to interpret the text the way he wants it to be interpreted. We already showed enough proof that it is possible that Thomas did not call Jesus his God. 

Allah knows Best.

Credit Bassam Zawadi