Summary: Thomas is mostly known for his doubts. Here he shows his determination to follow Jesus.

When Thomas Spoke Up for Jesus

Introduction: When we think of the men Jesus called to be His disciples, we can forget, sometimes, that they were human beings just like us. Each one of them had the incredible opportunity to follow Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on His mission while He walked this earth.

One of these men was Thomas, who gets kind of a bad rap for his doubts. I mean, to this day and for probably many days in the future, we’ll hear of people called a “doubting Thomas” simply because people like them are pegged as wanting to see proof before they make a decision. It is true Thomas had his doubts—but so did all the other disciples, too! And one thing that he said, that I haven’t found very often in Scripture, was Thomas’ declaration when he saw the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Thomas saw and then exclaimed, “My Lord and my God”.

No doubts there!

Thomas isn’t mentioned often in Scripture, but there are examples for each one of us in each instance. Let’s take a look at one of these episodes. Later we’ll look at the time Thomas saw Jesus, after the resurrection.

Thomas: devoted to Jesus

The first time Thomas is mentioned, aside from the lists of the apostles, is in John’s gospel, chapter 11. In the context, remember that Lazarus was sick, and eventually died. Jesus had made a deliberate choice to return to Bethany in Judea, where Lazarus, Mary, and Martha lived. They were some of the closest friends, possibly, Jesus had on this earth. As the gospels record, just about every time Jesus went to Judea in general, or Jerusalem in particular, trouble arose. At least twice, the unbelieving Jews actually took up stones, so that they could stone Jesus to death!

So we can imagine the shock and awe of the disciples when Jesus said, “we’re going back to Judea”, and the disciples replied, “uh, Lord, uh, the Jews wanted to stone You to death, and it wasn’t that long ago (remember???)” This wasn’t the first time, by the way, when the disciples were not sure what to do, what direction to follow, and so forth. A year or two before, in John chapter 6, Jesus had seen the crowds dwindle away to the point where He asked them, “Will you also go away (John 6:67, paraphrased)?”

The first words of Thomas in Scripture

But in this case, something happened in the heart of Thomas. Remember that these are the first words of Thomas recorded in Scripture: “Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him (John 11:16).” I’ve wondered, for a long time, why he said this. Although Scripture doesn’t record what Thomas thought, we could make a few observations.

First, Thomas was probably one of those quiet people who don’t say much, except when he had something to say. We have, and still need, folks like him even in these days; those who aren’t in the spotlight—did they ever want to be?—and simply want to follow the Lord. Thomas didn’t remain silent, nor did he cause a big show to break out. He just spoke one sentence, “Let’s go, so that we may die with Him”. While the others were doing whatever they were doing, or not, Thomas declared his devotion.

Someone once remarked that Thomas already knew that a life without Jesus wasn’t much of a life at all.

Second, Thomas showed some spunk. Dr. John MacArthur mentioned, in a radio broadcast several years ago, that Thomas was now showing some leadership. The other disciples were, perhaps, ready to leave Jesus—remember, they had been tempted to do that at least once before—and nobody stepped up to remind them of what they already knew! Thomas, as mentioned, never said much, at least as recorded in Scripture, but he spoke up here.

Third, and it’s a sad point to bring up, is that Thomas was still, perhaps, pessimistic. He had already stated that he knew death was waiting for Jesus; instead of praying for strength, deliverance, or any number of things (did he think to speak directly to Jesus?), he gave a resigned, “well, he’s going to die, so we might as well go with him”. In all fairness, we need to remember that this event took place at some time before the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit permanently came to indwell each believer. The encouragement Thomas and the others needed was available, but they didn’t seem to ask for it.


So, devoted and perhaps depressed, Thomas and the others followed the Lord Jesus Christ to Bethany, seeing the resurrection of Lazarus, and the power Jesus had—even to raising the dead. I’m sure this helped shape Thomas’ way of looking at the words of Jesus when we see the second episode in the life of Thomas.

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