Ephesians 2.19-22; Psalm 116; John 20.24-29
Thomas is listed as one of Jesus’ twelve disciples in all four Gospels, but only in John’s Gospel does he have a speaking role. First, when Jesus is preparing to go to Bethany where his friend Lazarus has died, the disciples discourage Jesus from walking into danger but Thomas says to them ‘Let us go, too, and die with him.’ [John 11.16] Then, during Jesus’ long exhortation to his disciples on the night of his betrayal and arrest, Jesus remarks that they ‘know the way to the place where I am going’ and Thomas, perhaps in visible exasperation, retorts ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ [14.4-5] Finally, at the risen Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples on Easter Sunday evening, St John records that Thomas was absent. Told of the resurrection he re-joined ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my … hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ [20.24-29]
His scepticism occasioned Jesus’ greatest beatitude, one which has given heart to Christians across two millennia: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ [20.29] Tradition holds that Thomas brought the Gospel to India, where he was martyred with a spear.