Most of us think of Jesus’ disciple Thomas as “Doubting” Thomas. His nickname in the Gospels is “Twin”, but he gets the nickname we know him by through his actions towards the end of the Gospels. He’s the one who didn’t believe it when the other disciples were saying that Jesus had resurrected. He had to see him and touch his wounds for himself.
JN 20:24-29 (HCSB)
24 But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!” 26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” 28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”
He’s usually seen in a less than favorable light because of his doubt. Jesus said that he would come back, and he did. The other disciples had no reason to lie to Thomas. Thomas has seen Jesus do some pretty amazing miracles before, so he has no reason to doubt. Surely he could accept their testimony?
Yet remember that the disciples didn’t believe Mary Magdalene and the other women when they saw Jesus. They had to see him for themselves. They weren’t called ‘Doubting” apostles.
Note that Jesus didn’t make fun of Thomas, but in fact accommodated his wishes. He offered himself as proof and didn’t try to hide anything.
Very little is written about Thomas, but his strength stands out in this verse that comes several chapters before. Jesus has been called to the village of Bethany, which is just a few miles away from Jerusalem. He knows that this is very dangerous because the Jewish leaders want to arrest him and put him to death. Yet, his friend Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha is near death. Not only does he have a chance to save him, but also to prove to his disciples that he is who he says he is. He wants to go, but the majority of the disciples are opposed to it, thinking it is too dangerous.
Yet Thomas says something amazing in JN 11:16 (HCSB)
16 Then Thomas (called “Twin”) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go so that we may die with Him.”
Instead of “Doubting” Thomas, perhaps he should be called “Brave” Thomas. He is willing to risk being killed, just for associating with Jesus. That is a faithful disciple!