When I was a child, Saturday was my favorite day of the week. It was a glorious, kid-friendly day where school time was replaced with cartoon time.
I can remember many Saturdays bolting out of bed and plopping myself on our shag carpet just a few feet away from our floor model, wood-grain TV (which my parents still watch to this day), as I devoured a bowl of sugary sweet cereal and watched cartoon after cartoon.
My favorite shows were Inspector Gadget, The Jetsons, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (What can I say? I’m a child of the 80’s.) I also liked the mini-cartoons known as Schoolhouse Rock.
For those who may not remember, Schoolhouse Rock was a collection of short, educational cartoons that played on the ABC network. One of my favorite Schoolhose Rock jams was about grammar. It was entitled “Interjections!” This three-minute cartoon defined and explained the proper use of an exclamatory assertion, such as “Ha!,” “Wow!,” or “Ouch!” The rather wordy chorus of that cartoon said (feel free to sing along),
“Interjections show excitement or emotion. They’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point…”
Grammatically, the song is wonderful. Lyrically? It is easy to see why they never won any Grammys.
Nevertheless, there are two noteworthy aspects of this well-worded definition. While interjections are not a complete sentence (hence, they are “set apart by an exclamation point”), they do reveal an important sense of excitement. To say, “Ow!” or “Sheesh!” or “Rats!” is clearly an incomplete thought but still a response that conveys someone’s strong feelings.
Now, I know you’re asking yourself, “Why on earth are you writing about grammar on Easter Sunday?” Good question.
As a child, I learned about the importance of interjections from Schoolhouse Rock, but since then, I have learned about one of the most important interjections of all time from Luke 20:28.
In response to the resurrection of Jesus, there was a historical interjection exclaimed by one of the disciples. As the Schoolhouse Rock definition said, this comment not only revealed excitement and emotion, but, even more, it revealed a pithy package of marvelous truths about who Jesus is.
The disciples were abuzz with excitement over the quickly spreading rumor that Jesus’ tomb was empty. After He appeared to many of them, their excitement quickly turned to worship. However, there was one disciple who was not with the others when the once-dead, now-alive Jesus arrived. His name was Didymus. More infamously he has earned the nickname Doubting Thomas.
After the other disciples announced, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas replied,
“Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
Thomas has earned a pretty bad reputation for this statement. But I think his skepticism is easy to understand.
Imagine someone telling you on September 14, 2001 that the World Trade Center buildings were standing taller than ever. You would have no reason to believe them. You saw the Twin Towers destroyed with your own eyes. Such structures can’t be rebuilt in just three days. How much more impossible does it sound for a man to come back to life after three days in a tomb?
More than a week went by after Jesus’ first appearance. Thomas still doubted their word. That is until, all of a sudden, sitting inside a room with closed doors Jesus physically came near to them. He immediately turned to the Doubter. He said to him,
“Reach here with your fingers, and see My hands…do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (20:27)
Jesus met Thomas at his point of doubt. Jesus told Thomas to poke, prod, examine, and touch Him. It was as if Jesus said, “See for yourself.”
The Bible never records that Thomas actually did what he said he needed to do. There’s no verse that says “and Thomas then touched Jesus.” It seems as if “seeing was believing” and he now knew, with certainty, that Jesus was alive. And what was Thomas’ famous response?
It was not a lengthy creed or doxological hymn. It was not even a complete sentence. It was a five word interjection. I can just imagine his wide-eyed look as, with wonder and awe, he blurted out a most appropriate exclamation, “My Lord and My God!”
If you read Thomas’ words in light of how many people speak today you may drawn a wrong conclusion. Thomas was not saying “My Lord!” or “My God!” as the kind of amazed response that we hear on TV. In other words, Thomas was not using the Lord’s name in vain. Had Thomas texted his friends, rest assured, he would not have typed “Just saw Jesus. OMG!” Rather, his statement was a shorthand explanation for what he was seeing. Like a person who shouts, “Fire!”, the message they are communicating involves much more than that single word. They are saying, “[Beware! There is a] Fire! [Get to safety!]” Likewise, Thomas’ interjection was not simply a word of amazement, it was a word of affirmation. His thoughts were probably something like,”[Wow! Now I see for myself and have no doubts. Jesus, you are] my Lord and my God!”
Thomas’ interjection may not have been a full sentence, but it was full of rich theology and faith. Thomas affirmed that Jesus is Lord. Jesus stood before Him as the One who had now mastered life, death, and the grave. Clearly, He is the ultimate Master.
Thomas also affirmed that Jesus is God. This is one of eight Bible verses that directly and unambiguously mentions the deity of Christ. Jesus is not simply a resurrected man. He is the resurrected God-man.
Just as importantly, Thomas also affirmed that Jesus was his very own Lord and God. Notice, he did not use a definite article saying, “[Jesus is] The Lord and the God!” Thomas’ response was much more personal. He embraced Jesus for himself saying, “[Jesus is] My Lord and my God!” The Greek New Testament more literally records his shout as, “The Lord of me and the God of me!” Thomas was not merely expressing doctrine. He was professing his own faith in the risen Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus does not simply deserve amazement, it deserves a personal affirmation like that of Thomas. On this Easter Sunday, can you say with the once-doubting disciple, that the risen Jesus is also your very own Lord and God? He saved Thomas from his unbelief. He can save you from your sins as well.