After eight days Jesus again appeared to the assem- John Xx. 26-29. bled apostles, Thomas, who had been before absent, now being with them. By showing him the prints of the John Xx. 24, 25. nails and the spear, as he had demanded, and desiring him to touch them, the Lord convinces xhim of the reality of His resurrection; and Thomas acknowledges » Him as his Lord and his God.
The place where the apostles were assembled, was in all probability the same in which Jesus had before met them, and may have been the upper room in which the paschal supper was eaten, and to which they returned from the Mount of Olives. Why they continued so long in Jerusalem, when the Lord had bidden them go to Galilee, is not stated ; and some have inferred that they waited for the expiration of the feast, which lasted seven days. " The Lord's command," says Stier, "presupposed their tarrying through the eight days, according to the rules of the feast." Lightfoot affirms that, on the first day, no one should exceed the limits of a sabbath-day's journey; on the second, no one might go home, because of the " appearance before the Lord" which then took place; on the third, one might go if necessary, though it was better to stay through the whole feast. But the feast had been some days ended, yet they remain. Luthardt (in loco) supposes that they may have assembled to keep the day in commemoration of His resurrection, and with the hope that He would appear to them again. It seems, however, more probable that it was the unbelief of the apostles which kept them at Jerusalem. Just before His arrest, and while on His way from the Passover supper to the garden, Jesus had said to them that " After He was risen He would go before them into Galilee," (Matt. xxvi. 32 ; Mark xiv. 28.) Probably also at the same time He specified the place where He would meet with them there, (Matt, xxviii. 10 and 16.) This direction, in the first moments of their grief, they seem utterly to have forgotten; and the Lord, first by the angels, and then from His own mouth, reminded them of it, and incited them to obedience. Had their faith been strong, they would have gone at once to Galilee, and waited for Him there. This they did not do. Even after He had by the most convincing proofs established the fact of His resurrection to others of the Eleven, still Thomas disbelieved ; and perhaps many among the disciples. Whilst this fact was in dispute they could not go into Galilee, for this implied that they no longer had any doubts that He was risen and would meet them there. It thus became necessary that He should manifest Himself to them again and again, and tarry for them at Jerusalem till the unbelief of all was overcome. And yet it is said that some which had gathered at the mountain in Galilee, doubted, (Matt, xxviii. 11.) It is most probable, however, that these were not of those who had seen Him in Judea.
1 Clericus refers to this occasion all of Mark xvi. 14-18 ; Luke xxiv. 3649. Bucher would place this meeting after the return from Galilee, and just before the ascension : Mark xvi. 14—19; Luke xxiv. 44-53; Acts i. 4-13.
Why Thomas was not present at the first meeting of the apostles is not stated, and we can but conjecture. It can scarcely, however, have been accidental. That the Lord should appear the second time to the Eleven on the eighth day after His resurrection, is of deep significance.