Thomas would have made an excellent witness in court. He wanted tangible evidence that Jesus had risen. He was a practical man. At the Last Supper he had said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5)
We do not know why he was not with the other apostles when Jesus appeared to them. Perhaps he was one of those people who find it easier to grieve alone. Thomas has been labelled as "doubting", but his companions had previously been hiding behind locked doors in spite of the fact that Mary Magdalene had told them that she had seen Jesus. Mark and Luke both record that the disciples did not believe the women or the two disciples (Mark 16:9-12; Luke 10:12). It was only when Jesus appeared to them that they believed. In Luke’s account Jesus invited them to touch his body to prove that he was not a ghost; so Thomas was not so different.
Jesus’ encounter with Thomas has the same intimacy as that with Mary Magdalene. It is the meeting of close, loving friends. Thomas sees the wounds and gives witness in his rapturous exclamation, “My Lord and my God!”
The evangelist John uses the character of Thomas, albeit through his weakness, to proclaim once again - as he did in his prologue - that Jesus is God and man. Moreover, his risen body, though different, is very real and not a spectre.