Summary: Study of lives of 12 Disciples

12 Disciples – Thomas, Matthew and James

Monday 6th November 06

From the circumstance that in the lists of the apostles he is always mentioned along with Matthew, who was the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14), and that these two are always followed by James, who was also the son of Alphaeus, it has been supposed that these three, Matthew, Thomas, and James, were brothers.

Thomas is the 7th disciple mentioned in Matthew 10:3

John 11:16

‘Thomas’ (Heb) was also known as Didymus (Gr), both names mean “double” or “twin.” He has famously become known as “Doubting Thomas” because of his unbelief after the resurrection.

1. Occupation

Thomas was also a Fisherman – John 21:2

2. Thomas – Not afraid to die, but misses the point (John 11:8/16)

After receiving the news that Lazarus was dying, the Lord stays an extra two days at Bethabara (which was about twenty miles from Bethany)

This situation would be used to show Christ’s power and also to illustrate His own resurrection. He tells the disciples that they are leaving for Bethany, which was quite close to Jerusalem. John 11:8-16

Thomas was willing to follow Christ even to death (v16) but he was not listening to what Christ had said. He was not going there to die but to perform a miracle that would glorify the Son of God.

Many times we fail to hear what God is saying to us and we rush off and do our own thing, then we question why God is not blessing us!!!!

3. Important Question (John 14:1-6)

Thomas wanted to follow the Lord and be with Him, but again he had missed the point. Jesus WAS the way.

4. I Believe (John 20)

Why was Thomas not with the other disciples when they met on the evening of Resurrection Day? Was he so disappointed that he did not want to be with his friends? But when we are discouraged and defeated, we need our friends all the more! Lonliness only feeds discouragement and helps it grow into self-pity, which is even worse.

Was he afraid? John 11:16 seems to indicate that he was basically a courageous man, willing to go to Judea and die with the Lord! John 14:5 reveals that Thomas was a spiritually minded man who wanted to know the truth and was not ashamed to ask questions. There seems to have been a “pessimistic” outlook in Thomas. We call him “Doubting Thomas,” but Jesus did not rebuke him for his doubts. He rebuked him for unbelief: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Doubt is often an intellectual problem: we want to believe, but the faith is overwhelmed by problems and questions. Unbelief is a moral problem; we simply will not believe.

What was it that Thomas would not believe? The reports of the other Christians that Jesus Christ was alive. The verb said in John 20:25 means that the disciples “kept saying to him” that they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ alive.

Thomas is a good warning to all of us not to miss meeting with God’s people on the Lord’s Day (Heb. 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is). Because Thomas was not there, he missed seeing Jesus Christ, hearing His words of peace, and receiving His commission and gift of spiritual life. He had to endure a week of fear and unbelief when he could have been experiencing joy and peace! Remember Thomas when you are tempted to stay home from church. You never know what special blessing you might miss!

But let’s give him credit for showing up the next week. The other ten men had told Thomas that they had seen the Lord’s hands and side (John 20:20), so Thomas made that the test. Thomas had been there when Jesus raised Lazarus, so why should he question our Lord’s own resurrection? But, he still wanted proof; “seeing is believing.”

Thomas’ words help us to understand the difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt says, “I cannot believe! There are too many problems!” Unbelief says, “I will not believe unless you give me the evidence I ask for!”

Jesus had heard Thomas’ words; nobody had to report them to Him. So, the next Lord’s Day, the Lord appeared in the room (again, the doors were locked) and dealt personally with Thomas and his unbelief. He still greeted them with “Shalom—peace!” Even Thomas’ unbelief could not rob the other disciples of their peace and joy in the Lord.

How gracious our Lord is to stoop to our level of experience in order to lift us where we ought to be. There is no record that Thomas ever accepted the Lord’s invitation. When the time came to prove his faith, Thomas needed no more proof!

John 20:29 indicates that Thomas’ testimony did not come from his touching Jesus, but from his seeing Jesus. “My Lord and my God!”

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