The Stranger on the Shore
Doubting Thomas Bible Story
Matthew xxviii: 16 to 20; Mark xvi: 14 to 20; Luke xxiv: 50 to 53; John xx: 26, to xxi: 25; Acts i: 1 to 11; I Corinthians xv: 3 to 8.
When Jesus showed himself to the disciples on the evening of the day of his rising from the dead, only ten of the disciples saw him, for Judas was no longer among them, and Thomas the twin (which is the meaning of his other name, Didymus) was absent. The other disciples said to Thomas, "We have seen the Lord!"
But Thomas said, "I will not believe that he has risen unless I can see in his hands the marks of the nails on the cross. I must see them with my own eyes, and put my hand into the wound in his side, before I will believe."
A week passed away, and on the next Sunday evening the disciples were together again, and at this time Thomas was with them. The doors were shut but suddenly Jesus was seen again standing in the middle of the room. He said, as before, "Peace be with you."
Then he turned to Thomas, and said to him, "Thomas, come here, and touch my hands with your finger, and put your hand into my side; and no longer refuse to believe that I am living, but have faith in me!" And Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Then Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
You remember that the angels had said to the women at the tomb of Jesus, that his disciples should go into Galilee, and there they would see the risen Lord. They went to Galilee, and waited for some days without seeing Jesus. Finally Peter said, "I am going fishing."
"We will go with you," said the others. There were with Peter the two brothers, James and John, Thomas and Nathanael, and two other disciples. They went out upon the lake in the fishing-boat, and worked all night, but found no fish. Just as the day was breaking they saw some one standing on the beach. It was Jesus, but they did not know him. He called out to them, as one friend calls to another, "Boys, have you caught anything?"
They answered him, "No."
He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you will find some fish."
They may have thought that standing on the shore he could see the signs of a shoal of fish, which they from the boat could not see. But the quick eyes of John, the beloved disciple, were the first to see who was this stranger on the shore. He said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"
When Peter heard this, he flung around him his fishermanís coat, and leaped into the water, and swam to the shore to meet his Lord. But the other six disciples stayed in the boat, and rowed to the shore, dragging after them the net full of fishes. When they came to the land, they found burning a fire of charcoal, and a fish broiling upon it, and a loaf of bread beside it. They all knew now that it was the Lord Jesus, and he said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have now caught."
Simon Peter waded out to where the net was lying, filled with fish, and drew it to the shore. Afterward they counted the fish that were in it, and found them one hundred and fifty-three large fishes, besides small ones. Yet the net was not broken with all these fish in it. Jesus said to them, "Come now and breakfast."
He took the bread, and gave it to them, and gave them fish also; and the seven disciples ate a breakfast with their risen Lord. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples in a company after rising from the tomb, the seventh of the times that he was seen.
After the breakfast, Jesus turned to Simon Peter, the one who three times had denied that he knew Jesus, and he said to him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
Then after a time Jesus said again, "Simon, son of Jonas, dost thou love me?"
Peter answered him as before, "Yes Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."
And Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep."
The third time Jesus said to him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
Peter was troubled to have this question asked again and again, and he answered, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee."
Then Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep." And Jesus added, "Follow me!"
And thus Peter, after his fall, three times declared his love to Christ, and was again called to his place among the disciples.
After this the followers of Jesus met on a mountain in Galilee, perhaps the same mountain where Jesus had before given the teachings called "The Sermon on the Mount,". More than five hundred people were gathered at this time; and there Jesus showed himself to them all. He said to them:
"All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and preach my gospel to all the nations of the earth, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to keep all the commands that I have given you. And I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
This was the eighth time that Jesus was seen after he rose from the dead. The ninth was when he showed himself to James, not the apostle of that name, but another James, who was called "The Lordís Brother," and may have been a son of Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, and Mary his wife. We do not know what was said at this meeting; but from this time James was a strong believer in Jesus.
Once more, the tenth time, the risen Saviour showed himself to all his eleven disciples. It may have been in Jerusalem, for he told them not to leave the city, but to wait until God should send down upon them his Spirit, as he had promised. And Jesus said to them:
"When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you shall have a new power, and you shall speak in my name in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and in the farthest parts of the earth."
Jesus led his disciples out of the city and over the Mount of Olives, near to the village of Bethany. And he lifted up his hands in blessing upon them; and while he was blessing them, he began to rise in the air, higher and higher, until a cloud covered him and the disciples saw him no more.
While they were looking up toward heaven, they found two men, like angels, with shining garments, standing by them. These men said:
"O ye men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you, shall come again from heaven to earth, as you have seen him go up from earth to heaven!"
Then the disciples were glad. They worshipped their risen Lord Jesus, now gone up to heaven; and they went again to Jerusalem. And they were constantly in the Temple, praising and giving thanks to God.