The Disciples: Thomas

The disciple Thomas is commonly known as doubt Thomas, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

In the first three gospels {and book of Acts}, Thomas is only mentioned as one of the disciples of Jesus and nothing else is mentioned about him.

The name Thomas is Hebrew and means twin.  The name Didymus is Greek and means twin.

We learn more about Thomas in the book of John.  Lazarus has died, and the apostles do not want to return to Judea, because of previous attempts to stone Jesus. However, Jesus is insistent on returning, knowing he is needed there.

“Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.”  {John 11:16}

Here we discover Thomas is also called Didymus. 

Thomas did not believe until he could see Jesus had risen

Thomas is willing to go with Jesus and to die with him, even if it meant death.  Thomas was loyal to the Messiah and willing to risk everything.

We next find Thomas at the Last Supper. Jesus is telling the disciples that he is going away to his heavenly home and one day they will join him there.

“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”  {John 14:5} 

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  {John 14:6}

Thomas was with the disciples when Jesus was arrested and crucified.  However, he was not present when Mary Magdalene told Peter and John of the stone being rolled away or when these two disciples went to the tomb.

The disciples are excited when they tell Thomas about the tomb being empty and Jesus appearing to them.

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” {John 20:24}

We don’t know where Thomas was, but he wasn’t with the other disciples.

“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  {John 20:25}

Hence why he is known as Doubting Thomas. He doesn’t believe Jesus has risen and only will when he can place his finger in the nail print of Jesus hands.

“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”  {John 20:26}

Thomas is with them this time when Jesus appears to the disciples.

“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”  {John 20:27}

Jesus allows Thomas to place his finger in the hole in his hand where the nails were.

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”  {John 20:28}

Thomas realizes this is his Lord and God.

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  {John 20:29}

Thomas is listed one last time with the disciples in the upper room in Acts 1.

Church tradition states Thomas traveled to what is now modern-day India, where he established seven churches. He was put to death while in India, legend says he was pierced with he spears of four soldiers, and his remains were buried in Edessa.

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