I’m beginning a new post because the comments in my last post got off on a number of diversions. Among those comments were these:
What does Thomas’ opinion (as reported by John) matter, in the original Greek or otherwise?
. . .But like Jared, I wonder why Thomas’s opinion has much weight for our purposes.
Kullervo also made a number of good points questioning the historicity of John that are important to discuss and I don’t wish to dismiss them. But in the realm of Mormon and Evangelical conversations it’s not an issue. Both Mormons and Evangelicals have come to agree that they are Thomas’ words and that the Gospel of John accurately records them. We also agree that those words are authoritatively canonized and should be viewed as scripture.
So why does it matter that Thomas called Jesus “my God”? (John 20:28) It matters because it tells us, as disciples of Jesus, what kind of view WE should have of Jesus. It gives us an indication of what we should think when we encounter a risen Jesus. Thomas was not chastised by Jesus for declaring him to be his God. Instead Jesus acknowledges his belief and says others will be blessed for having the same belief without the benefit of sight.
Compare this to John falling at the feet of Jesus in Revelation 1 (a correct response) and to John falling at the feet of an angel in Revelation 19 (an incorrect response). Jesus apparently expects his followers to fall at his feet and worship him as their God. It matters because it is what is due to Jesus. Denying God the worship he deserves has consequences.
The Book of Mormon and sermons by Joseph Smith both indicate that this should be our posture to Jesus as well. The “Joseph Smith Translation” doesn’t even scratch this portion of John. If, as a Christian, you don’t think Jesus should be worshiped as your God I’d like to know why and what your opinion is of Thomas and John’s example.
Random thought about this passage
It struck me in church today that in John’s Gospel, the stories after the resurrection seem to be cleaning some loose ends from before the crucifixion. Similar to Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved him I think this story about Thomas has some relevance to a conversation Thomas and Jesus had at the Last Supper.
John 14: 5-7
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”