His surname of Thomas linked my husband to doubting Thomas and he was used to being teased. But did you know that Thomas was not the disciple’s name? It means twin – so Thomas was effectively called ‘twin’. Similarly still today the youngest child in a family is often called ‘baby’ or ‘bubba’ even is an adult.
From what little we know of Thomas he was not so much a doubter as a pessimist.
When Jesus learns that his friend Lazarus has died, he tells his disciples that they must return to Judea. They try to talk him out of it, – last time the locals wanted to stone Jesus to death. Jesus insists. And then Thomas boldly speaks up: Let us also go, that we may die with him. (John 11:16)
When Jesus predicts his betrayal he comforts his disciples by telling them he is going to prepare a place for them. He tells them that they know the way to the place he is going. Thomas responds: Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? (John 14: 5)
We know from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke that the other disciples doubted the resurrection, too. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. (Luke 24: 9-11)
So it’s a bit unfair to focus on Thomas as if he were the only doubter. It took time and other experiences with the risen Jesus, such as the breakfast on the beach, for the disciples to let go of their doubt. The same is true for us – the resurrection seems beyond rational belief but as we experience Jesus’s presence in our lives our doubt fades and we with doubting Thomas say My Lord and my God. (John 20:28)
We pray that Ukrainians will know the presence of Jesus with them dispelling their doubts.
Painting is The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio