Nail Prints

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
November 16, 1913 – Chappell Hill, Texas


Being a Christian is a simple process. But if unbelievers don’t see a true transformation in the new Christian, they will doubt the message of salvation.

Christ appeared to his disciples and confirmed His testimony that He would return and they believed. Thomas was not with them. He was faced with evidence that he could not reconcile. Thomas was sense-ruled. Until his spirit took its proper place as ruler of his mind and body, he would struggle with this revelation. He had to see the “nail prints in Jesus’ hands” before he would believe.

Jesus appeared to Thomas and showed him his wounds and encouraged Thomas. He had returned and had the scars to prove it. There was no reason to doubt anything He said.

Thomas was quick to change his confession and believe. But then Jesus says something so important, “Blessed are those that believe without seeing.” Jesus would not be physically present in the Church age. But through the Holy Spirit’s work in our spirits, we would be empowered to prosper. Jesus would now do the miraculous through us.

In this sermon, my Grandfather teaches that if unbelievers see our “nail prints” they would believe too. — Harrison Woodard

John 20:24-29 AMP

But Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.

So the other disciples kept telling him, We have seen the Lord! But he said to them, Unless I see in His hands the marks made by the nails and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe [it].

Eight days later His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though they were behind closed doors, and stood among them and said, Peace to you!

Then He said to Thomas, Reach out your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place [it] in My side. Do not be faithless and incredulous, but [stop your unbelief and] believe!

Thomas answered Him, My Lord and my God!

Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe (trust, have faith)? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.

Nail Prints

It is easy to upbraid Thomas for his doubts when we are reading this story of him. And he may have laid too much stress on evidence which appeals to the senses.

We see in him a thorough man. When he doubted, he expressed his doubts. But what he believed and when he believed was with all his power.

His doubt was complete. There was no mere impertinent questioning in him. He was slow to accept a thing so strange and act on it.

He is seldom quoted as the speaker among the apostles. Twice his utterances are the expressions of a doubt and once the expression of faith.

To the disciples he said, “I will not be deluded in this matter. I must see and feel” – no faith and all senses.

To Christ he said, “No, I don’t know where you are going and of course don’t know the way.”

But his faith was self forgetting and Christ engrossing. With Christ before him, no personal consideration disturbed him. He gladly accepts the teaching of Christ and the testimony of his presence when the Master stood before him in the full tide of adoring confidence.

How complete the change, “My Lord and my God. It is true. I see it.”

Oh how many times have I watched for the sunrise to send the shafts of light over the marshes of sin, and the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit to drive away its chill, disease and death. And lo thou hast returned from the dead. Thou art here and all of the chill and fear has gone from my heart. I am free.

The world says, “I would see, must see the prints of the nails, the credentials of kingship in the Christian’s life.”

We tell our neighbor we are converted and going to live the Christ life. He replies, “So glad to hear lt.” But he watches for the nail prints and will not believe until he sees them.

This is the standard of measurement in heaven and on earth – nail prints. If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross.

The mark of Christianity is the cross. It is the sign of discipleship. Why does the world doubt the Church? It believes in Christ, accepts His teaching and raises the name of Jesus above every name. Wonder if the world looked for nail prints on the hands of the Church and saw none?

Let the Church share the death and resurrection of Jesus and show its nail prints and men will be convinced of its divine mission. It was the life offering of Christ that convinced – the nail prints – not the teaching or miracles.

Who will carry those nail prints to some lost one?

Can you?

Will you?


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