October 7, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Thomas, one of the twelve originally called to follow Jesus, is mentioned twelve times by name in the New Testament. Three times – all in the gospel of John – he is identified as “…Thomas, called Didymus…” (John 11:16, 20:24 and 21:2). Didymus means ‘double’ or ‘twin’. Apparently, Thomas was born with a twin brother or sister.
Thomas is probably most famous as doubting Thomas! This is because of the incident recorded in the upper room in John 20:24 through 28:
But Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve, was not with them when
Jesus came [the first time]. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We
have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the
print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my
hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples
were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being
shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to
Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your
hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
I’m glad God decided to include this incident concerning Thomas in the scriptures. You see, Thomas, being a twin, is my twin! Or maybe I should say, I am his twin! It encourages me that – even in my doubts and unbelief – God has not given up on me, and He is still going to use me.
He surely did use Thomas! Reliable traditions from several sources have it that Thomas traveled to India – arriving in 52 AD – and won many converts to Christ, establishing many churches. He may have traveled as far as China preaching the Gospel. After about 30 years of ministry, he was martyred in India, where – as he knelt in prayer – he was thrust thru with a spear. Thomas resolved his doubts, and I am working on mine! I expect God to continue using me!
But I think I am a twin to more than just Thomas Didymus!
• There was Peter, who denied Christ three times during the Savior’s suffering. How many times have I denied my Lord by my words and actions? As Jesus confirmed three times Peter’s love for his Lord in John 21:15 through 17, and as He greatly used Peter in establishing His church, especially in Rome and/or Babylon, so He has time and again forgiven, restored and used me!
• James and John were called in Mark 3:17 “…Boanerges, that is, ‘Sons of Thunder’….” Apparently, they had fiery personalities, and that fire was shown in Luke 9:52 through 54 when they wanted to fry a Samaritan village – whose people would not receive Jesus – with fire from heaven. They also tried to maneuver into preferred positions in the kingdom, next to the King Himself (Mark 10:35-37). How many times has my self-righteous anger gotten in the way of the Lord’s purpose? And how many times have I wanted preferential treatment?
• Even Judas Iscariot has been my twin! He betrayed Jesus for a paltry sum of money! He was called “…the son of perdition…” in John 17:12, and has been roasting in hell for almost 2000 years now! Thank God I am not going to hell! Jesus said in John 5:24,
Most assuredly, I say to you, He who hears My word and believes in
Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judg-
ment, but has passed from death into life.
But how often have I traded Him and His blessings for some cheap bauble?
Yes, we are all twins! But I am also the younger brother of Jesus Christ Himself! It says in Hebrews 2:11, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren….” With God’s help, I am lessening the negative effects of twinship with the very human apostles, and growing in the kinship – the likeness – of my Elder Brother, Jesus!