It’s no surprise that people can’t mention the apostle Thomas without affixing the word “doubting” before his name. After all, it was Thomas who famously asked for proof of Jesus’ resurrection even as He stood before him and the apostles. Only by touching the holes of the wounds from His crucifixion did Thomas finally believe that the Messiah had indeed risen from the dead.
Still, there’s more to Thomas (aka Didymus or “twin”) than his reputation as a skeptic. Here are four things we can learn from this misunderstood saint on his feast day, July 3.
Remember the time when Jesus wanted to visit Lazarus in Judea, but his apostles thought it was a bad idea? One was afraid Jesus would be stoned; another figured that Lazarus would get better with a bit of rest (when in fact, he was already dead). It was Thomas who declared, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” This willingness to be with Jesus even at the risk of losing his own life is proof of his commitment as a follower of the Savior.
He’s really loyal.
And how about the time Jesus told his apostles about the many mansions in his Father’s house and how he was going to prepare a place for them, “and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Thomas was the first to speak. “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” With a childlike innocence, Thomas expressed his willing to go anywhere Jesus went—even in the afterlife.
He taught us to never doubt.
How many times have we prayed for a sign—and either missed or dismissed it when it was finally there, staring us at the face? Thomas needed to touch Jesus to be convinced He was real. Yet don’t we believe God, Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the angels and saints exist even if we don’t see or touch them?
“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed,” said Jesus. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
He made something of himself.
Yes, he’s the reference to the term “Doubting Thomas.” But he’s known for other things too. After he and the apostles went their separate ways, he preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, and Persians, then spread the Good Word up to the Malabar Coast in India, where a good number of St. Thomas Christians still exist. As such, he’s the patron saint of India and of architects, the latter because the Indio-Parthian King Gondophernes supposedly assigned him to build a royal palace. Thomas was thrown into jail for spending the budget intended for the palace on charity.