LESSONS LEARNED FROM THOMAS
Shortly after crucifixion and burial of Jesus He arose from the grave. He arose on the first day of the week. The apostles gathered that same day at evening. They gathered behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. (John 20:19) They must have been deeply depressed, confused and afraid. They were still horrified about what happened to their Lord and Master. They must have also been shocked when “Mary Magdalene came and told them that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” (John 20:18) When they thought of Jesus being resurrected they must have thought about His physical condition at the time of His death. His body was mutilated from the beating that He had received. His hands and feet had been pierced with nails and his side had been ripped open with a spear. Amazingly, “Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19) On that day Jesus gave the apostles proof of His resurrection by showing them His hands and His side. They were glad when they saw the Lord and knew that it was Him. He pronounced a blessing of peace upon them and renewed or restated the Great Commission to them. “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” The Lord “breathed on them” and told them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” He was inspiring them for the work they were about to do in His kingdom. The apostles received from the Lord the doctrine of reconciliation and the doctrine of condemnation. He said to them, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” Sadly, “Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus” missed all of this. He was not with them when Jesus came. (John 20:20-24) What lessons can we learn from Thomas?
We learn that Thomas had his own family. Thomas was called Didymus. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” (John 20:24) “Didymus” means Twin. Some text read, “Thomas, who was called the Twin.” He had a twin brother or twin sister. No one knows for certain who the twin might have been and the New Testament is silent on the matter. However, we are reminded from Thomas that we have family members and family obligations. Anyone who has a good family would agree that they certainly bring light to a dark world. We are blessed with both our physical families and with the opportunity to be a part of God’s spiritual family, the church. (Ephesians 2:19) Jesus wants everyone to be in His family.
We learn that Thomas had his own work. He was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” (Matthew 10:2-4) Jesus called these everyday men to be His apostles. They were likely not the men that the worldly wise would have chosen for this task. However, the Lord knew their hearts and He knew their potential. Even though they were men with many weaknesses Jesus knew what they could become and what they do to spread His kingdom. Jesus could use Thomas and the other apostles and He can use us. God wants to use you to help get the gospel to the world.
We learn that Thomas had his own faith. Thomas was not present on the first Sunday that Jesus appeared to the apostles. They told him, “We have seen the Lord.” Thomas did not want their faith; he wanted faith of his own. “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.” Do not be too harsh on Thomas. Jesus had warned the apostles about false apostles and false Christ’s. (Matthew 24:23-27) Thomas did not want to believe something without proof. A week later Thomas had the opportunity to see, hear and touch the Lord. After that meeting, with both assurance and conviction, he said of Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28) With no doubt Thomas could then proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Let us study and work diligently to develop our own faith and then live strong for the Lord.
Let us, like Thomas look to Jesus and cry out “My Lord and my God.” To be saved from sin hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) After baptism we must be willing to live for Jesus or even to die for Him. The Jews had sought to stone Jesus in Judea. When Lazarus died the other disciples asked Jesus if He was going there again. But Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16) Let that be our commitment also.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA