The synoptic gospels tell us how Jesus called his disciples to him and chose from among them twelve (12) who he designated ‘Apostles’ : (1) Simon, who he named Peter (2) Andrew, who is Peters’ brother, (3) James and (4) John (5) Phillip (6) Bartholomew (7) Matthew (8) Thomas (9) James, son of Alphaeus (10) Simon the Zealot (11) Judas, son of James (12) Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Luke 6:14-16
Most of the apostles, except for Peter, James, John, Thomas and Judas are left shrouded in a fair amount of historical obscurity. For the most part the Church has colored the apostles in a very positive light, all except one; the one we traditionally call ‘ Doubting Thomas’.
Thomas is the Hebrew word for ‘Twin’, while ‘Didymus’ is the Greek word for twin.
After leaving Jerusalem rather hurriedly, Jesus went back to the place where John had baptized. While at this place He received word from Mary and Martha that their brother, Lazarus, had died. Lazarus was from Bethany, a town about two (2) miles Southeast of Jerusalem. This was the vicinity where the Jews tried to stone Jesus to death. No wonder the disciples were very concerned with their safety when Jesus said, “let us go back to Judea”. It is here that Thomas first shows his true colors, and breaks through a barrage of mental complacency and courageously steps out on pure devotion, when he said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him”. Thomas was obviously the first of the twelve to express a commitment to Christ even if it meant death.
Again, Jesus comforts his disciples telling them that he is going away to prepare a place for them so they can always be with him. Then he said something that I think was designed to evoke a specific reaction. He said, ” You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:4 Thomas, again, is the only one who rose to the occasion and articulated the pure honesty that was in his heart. Thomas said, ” Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” John 14:5 Had Thomas not voiced his concern there would have been no reason for Jesus to respond in such an inspiring and eye-opening way. Jesus responded in such a way that it became one of the most memorized parts of scripture to date : ” I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Thomas doubted no more than any of the other apostles.