Monday, April 16, 2012


Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
John 20:24-25

Didymus, which means "twin"--I must have heard this hundreds of times, but yesterday was the first time I ever wondered about this. Why was he called "twin"? Did he have a twin? And if he did, where was his brother, or I guess it could have been a sister. Was his twin a believer? Alive? Somewhere during my search for images, I read that there is a theory that the reason why he was called that was that he looked so much like Jesus and was sometimes portrayed that way in icons of Jesus and his disciples. It's just something else that we don't know.

This is the way that we always see Thomas portrayed, touching the wounds of Jesus. What an overwhelming experience that must have been. I've written previously here and here about the wounds of Christ, how they draw us and bind us to him, how He chose to retain those wounds in His glorified body. Thomas's statement that he wouldn't believe unless he put his finger and hand into Christ's wounds didn't come out of nowhere. It was directly related to the experience that the other apostles had had.

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
John 20:19

Jesus chose to reveal His identity to them by showing them His wounds. Thomas was only taking that revelation a step further. I've always thought that the epithet Doubting Thomas was not quite fair, and I've always wondered why the Church chooses to read the above scripture on his feast day instead of the one that talks about his brightest moment when Jesus was going to heal Lazarus, although it would put Him in some danger.

So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
John 11:16

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