Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke
Our study of the story of Lazarus continues today with a look at one of the disciples who traveled and worked with Christ. The man is Thomas, one who was called into the ministry by Jesus, and was associated with the fishermen of the group.
When Peter decided to go fishing following the resurrection of Christ, Thomas was one of the guys who went with them. He was also called “Didymus” which is interpreted to mean “twin.” It is not known if he had a twin or why he was called this.
He was faithful, always present, and sent forth by Christ to proclaim the gospel (Luke 9).
However, Thomas has a nickname attached to him that is not a good one. He is often called “Doubting Thomas.” This is a result of several incidences in the scripture that seem to portray him as one who was weak in faith. For example, in John 14:5 we find, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Jesus just finished telling them they knew the way, then Thomas asks how could they know the way. Like us so often, we hear but don’t believe.
After the crucifixion and resurrection the disciples tell Thomas that Jesus was alive. His response: he would not believe until he saw and touched the scars in Christ’s hands and the wound in His side. The question begs to be asked, “Where was Thomas when Jesus came to the disciples in the locked room and proved Himself alive?”
Our study today finds Thomas concerned about Jesus going to see Mary and Martha after learning that Lazarus was already deceased.
This guy always seems to look at the dark side of life. Upon seeing that Jesus was determined to go to Bethany, knowing it was dangerous and possibly life-threatening for all of them, Thomas expresses his lack of faith, revealing his melancholic personality. He simply says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (11:16). It speaks well of Thomas that he appeared to be willing to die with Christ, but we know he was not. When the soldiers, along with Judas, came for our Savior, according to Matthew 26:56, they all forsook Him and fled. There are some people who only seem to see the dark side of things. Faith is foreign to them.
I feel Thomas was just one of those persons who seemed to focus on the problem rather than the Christ who is greater than all our problems.
However, consider the end of the story. Thomas was present in the upper room (Acts 1:13), no doubt filled with the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, and became a great warrior for Christ, and martyred for the gospel on a foreign field.