Even though John tells us the moment he believed, the disciples still did not know exactly what had happened. And there were still concerns about what would happen to them as followers of Jesus now that the Jewish leaders had killed Jesus. So the evening of that Sunday found the disciples cowering in fear, locked hiding in a room. That is when the risen Jesus showed up!
Just as Mary’s grief evaporated when she saw the risen Lord, the disciples rejoice as well. All of their wildest hopes following the disappearance of the body were realized! Jesus speaks peace on them and sends them out to continue His mission. Even though we do not see this commissioning become effective immediately—just as the announcement of the coming of the Spirit here does not immediately empower the disciples—we will discover as we read on that the disciples do overcome their fears and carry out their mission very effectively.
Thomas was not with the others when they saw Jesus, and he is not ready to accept their report. He needs to see for himself before he will be convinced. So, in a scene that even the smallest of children sees coming, Jesus appears to the disciples again. This time Thomas is there and seeing Jesus squashes any doubts he was still entertaining. Jesus’ appearances dissolve all of the grief, fear, and doubt that His followers experienced following His sacrifice.
However, today we do not have the luxury or privilege of seeing Jesus in the flesh to convince us. Jesus knew that this was going to be a key factor in the movement of God expanding beyond these initial followers. The fact is that faith is more powerful than knowledge. That is why he answers Thomas’ confession with the, “blessed are they who have not seen and yet believed.”