Summary: Tonight we’re going to look at a disciple whose gotten worse press than any but Judas, but he was actually one of the most outstanding of the Apostles.
THE 12 APOSTLES, THOMAS
A. HUMOR: X MARKS THE SPOT
1. Boudreaux and Thibodeaux went fishing. They found a great fishing spot, right out in the middle of a lake. 2. Boudreaux said, "Thibodeaux, we need to mark this spot so we can find it again!" Thibodeaux took out a big black marker and put a big X right in the middle of the bottom of the boat.
3. Later on, Boudreaux noticed the big X in the bottom of the boat and said, "Thibodeaux, that was really dumb to put that mark in the bottom of the boat. How is that going to get us to the same spot? Suppose the next time we go, we take a different boat?"
1. Today is our 8th part in the series, “The 12 Apostles of Jesus.” These 12 men, like us, all had their strengths and weaknesses.
2. As we study them, we see how Jesus worked with them to help them grow in faith and courage.
3. Tonight we’re going to look at a disciple whose gotten worse press than any but Judas, but he was actually one of the most outstanding of the Apostles.
4. The title of this message is, The 12 Apostles of Jesus: Thomas.”
I. DEDICATED LEADER AMONG THE APOSTLES
A. CLOSE TO THE INNER CIRCLE
1. Thomas Didymus lived in Galilee. Thomas was his Hebrew name and Didymus was his Greek name. Both names mean “twin.”
2. Matthew, Mark and Luke only mention Thomas when they name the 12 apostles (Mt. 10:3, Mk. 3:18, Lk. 6:15).
But there are signs that Thomas was one of the more influential apostles.
3. For starters, the Apostle John mentions him seven times in his Gospel. After Jesus’ resurrection, when Peter declared he would go fishing again, only 4 other apostles went with him (and 2 unnamed disciples): James & John, Nathanael, and Thomas.
4. Unless Thomas had been close to Peter, James, and John, he probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable volunteering himself to accompany them.
B. READY TO DIE WITH JESUS
1. In John 10 the Jewish leaders had become increasingly belligerent. They slandered Jesus saying he was demon-possessed (10:20), they attempted to stone Him but couldn’t (10:31), and at last they tried to seize Him (10:39).
2. Jesus had to flee for His life across the Jordan River to where John had been baptizing. When Lazarus was dying, Mary and Martha sent word of it to Jesus there (11:3).
3. After 4 days, Jesus stated His intention to return to where they were trying to kill Him, to (heal) Lazarus. John 11:16, “Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”
4. Thomas shows his love for Jesus, his devotion, and his courage by determining to die with Jesus.
5. Alfred Edersheim also believes this shows Thomas’ leadership among the apostles, since he makes the decision they would accompany Jesus (Life & Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 2, p. 315).
C. NOT WANTING TO BE SEPARATED FROM JESUS
1. In the Upper Room, after Jesus had washed their feet and they had eaten the Passover/ Last Supper together (Judas had left), Jesus began to tell them that He was going away and they couldn’t come with Him.
2. This was devastating news to men who’d left all behind to follow Him. One of the 4 apostles who expressed his heartbreak at this news was Thomas, who in John 14:5 asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
3. In answer to Thomas’ question, Jesus uttered one of the most important sayings in the Bible; “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).
4. Thomas’ motivating desire was that he didn’t want to be separated from Jesus.
II. HIS DOUBT OF THE RESURRECTION
A. CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO IT
1. Just as the arrest, crucifixion, and death of Jesus sent the other apostles into fear, depression, and discouragement, Thomas also experienced the defeat of his hopes centered in Jesus.
2. Thomas’ dedication turned to bitter finality that Jesus was dead and would never come back. He became pessimistic of any hope of resurrection.
3. He greeted claims of angels with skepticism. Thomas probably responded to reports of sightings of Jesus as risen with, "Maybe they hallucinated" or "Maybe they saw someone that looked like Him.”
4. But there were at least five (5) resurrection appearances during this time:
a. To Mary Magdalene, Mk. 16:9; Jn. 20:11-17.
b. 2 Other Women told by Angel, Mt. 28:8-10, Mk. 16:1,6.
c. To Peter, Lk. 24:34, 1 Cor. 15:5.
d. The 2 Disciples of Emmaus, Mk. 16:12-13; Lk. 24:13-35.