THE PESSIMIST WHO BECAME AN APOSTLE

Bible Reading: John 11:7-16; 14:5; 20:24-29

Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” [John 11:16]

In the past few days we have looked at Mary and Martha, who were sisters but had very different personalities. Today we are looking at Thomas, known affectionately as “doubting Thomas.” He was careful, thoughtful, and logical, but struggled to believe. He was the type of person who had to “see it to believe it,” and yet Jesus chose him to be one of his disciples.

Jesus chose His disciples because He heard from His Father. On several occasions Jesus said that the Father gave them to Him [see John 17:6-7]. God sees not just the person as they are but their potential. The people that we think will be most successful are often the ones who ultimately most disappoint us. Conversely, the ones that we didn’t really think would make much, turn out to be the ones who most surprise us.

Our Bible text seems to indicate that there was a mixture of pessimism and loyalty in the way Thomas spoke to Jesus. Even after all that Jesus had taught, Thomas still couldn’t grasp where Jesus was going and the way He was going [John 14:4-5]. If it did not seem logical to him he was at least honest about it. When the resurrected Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples Thomas was absent. Even his friends could not persuade him that Jesus had risen, and famously He said that he would not believe unless he could put his finger into the nail prints and his hand into the side of Jesus.

Despite his doubts Thomas became known as the “Apostle to India”. In AD 52 Thomas sailed to India, where he saw many conversions and churches planted. He was martyred in Mylapore, near Chennai, in AD 72, but the Mar Thoma churches in South India remain as the lasting fruit of his ministry.

It was the revelation of Jesus to Thomas that totally changed him. Jesus appeared personally to him and allowed him to touch the nail prints and His side. His response to Jesus was, “My Lord and my God” [John 20:29]. If you are a person who struggles to believe, or is sceptical about what Christians sometimes say, why not ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you personally? He does understand your doubts and does want to meet with you, and as with Thomas, work through you for His glory. There is a promise in God’s Word for you today, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart” [Jeremiah 29:13]

Questions:

Why do you think that Jesus chose Thomas knowing that he would doubt Him? What are some of the lovely characteristics of Thomas’ personality?

What does it mean to seek God with all of your heart?

What does it mean to have a revelation of who Jesus is, and submit to Him as Lord? Why is this important if we are to have an effective Christian ministry?