Greetings to you! We celebrate the life and witness of the Apostle Thomas whose doubt was turned to faith. St. Thomas was the Apostle who sailed to India with the good news of Jesus Christ as early as AD 52.
Very often we are told by others that Christianity is a Western religion and that it was brought by the British to India. However, the fact is that Christianity came to India long before it went to Britain. Though some people suggest that Christianity was present in Britain in the 1st century, it was only in 6th century when Augustine, a monk was sent to evangelise Britain that it spread. So, we do have a history of Christianity in India over 2000 years.
We are grateful to God for sending his Apostle St. Thomas to India. We know that he came to the southern part of India and preached the good news of the gospel to the people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He was ministering to the Brahmins in Tamil Nadu who were upset with his teaching and eventually speared him to death in AD 72 in Chennai.
The name Thomas has its root in the Aramaic and Hebrew ‘Teom’ meaning ‘Twin’. The equivalent term for ‘twin’ in Greek is ‘Didymos’, which is another name of recorded for Thomas.
Thomas is one of those disciples whose doubt was changed to faith. When Jesus rose again on the third day after his crucifixion, he appeared to the disciples who were gathered together in a room. However, Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared to them. The other disciples told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord!” But Thomas replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hands into his side, I will not believe.”
Thomas was somebody who wanted hard, tangible, empirical evidence. He was not going to believe the resurrection unless he saw and felt Jesus personally. He is full of doubts about the resurrection because the Jews believed only in the resurrection on the final day of judgement. Therefore, he did not believe what the other disciples said.
A week later the disciples were again gathered in a house and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus reveals himself to Thomas in flesh and blood asking him to touch and feel him and to know that he had really risen from the dead. Jesus challenges him to stop doubting and to believe in the resurrection.
When Thomas saw Jesus, heard his voice and felt him, he knew that that this was indeed the Son of God and therefore he confesses saying, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas’ faith came only after he saw the risen Lord and felt him. Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed.”
Jesus is challenging Thomas and us to believe in him through the evidence that has been given to us by the witnesses of the resurrection. Thomas did not believe in the testimony of his fellow apostles and only the risen Lord’s presence made him believe. Many a time we too are like that. We have doubts about Jesus. We want solid proof before we can trust him.
However, God has given us the testimony of the early witnesses in scripture for us. We are called to believe in the risen Lord and put our personal faith in him. This morning you may have several doubts in your mind about the testimony of Jesus. Jesus says’ “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed in him.”