What led Thomas to doubt so vehemently? Was incredulity really such a strong part of his profile?
In view of the disciple Thomas’ attitude to the fact of the Resurrection of Christ , we have often heard, and thus, we take sides that this disciple represents the lack of faith. Who doesn’t remember your phrase? “If I don’t see the sign of the nails in His hands, and I don’t put my finger in the place of the nails, and don’t put my hand in His side, I won’t believe it!” (cf. Jn 20, 25).
What led this man to doubt so vehemently? Was incredulity really such a strong part of his profile? Let’s see!
Potentials and defects of the disciples
Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, without great prominence in the biblical writings, gains importance at the end of the Gospel of St. John. Jesus “knew those he called” (cf. Jn 13:18), and he did not want any without reason. The Master invited His disciples, knowing their potential and defects, fundamental characteristics for the mission that each one would follow. In his small narrated participations, we find important points of the personality of the Israelite Thomas, a bold man.
In the well-known passage of the Gospel cited, we have the presence of Thomas, who actively participated in the narrated fact.
The context is as follows: Jesus died on the Cross; he had been buried; and on Sunday the women returned from the tomb reporting that the body of Christ was no longer there. Then Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, who soon took the news to everyone: “I saw the Lord”.
In verse 19, on the evening of that day, on Sunday, Jesus appeared to all the apostles who were meeting behind closed doors and in fear.
The text in question also shows us the absence of one of them, Thomas, who was not with the apostles. Where would he be? He did not hide, and while the others closed, he was out. Not that it is better, but it shows that he was not afraid to appear in public.
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It was not to escape
Before, Thomas is also mentioned in other passages in the Gospel of John, and his participation shows a strong characteristic: he was not a fugitive.
In the Gospel of St. John, chapter 11, we have the account of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus decided to return to Judea, but His disciples were afraid because they had just threatened him in the same region. But, Thomas boldly puts himself with the Master: “We also go to die with Him” (cf. Jn 11:16). The apostle is not afraid to follow the Master and die with Him.
Thomas trusts Jesus, loves Him and has no reservations with the Master. Your desire to follow Him is clear when Christ speaks of the Father’s house and a place that He will prepare for them. We see Thomas questioning Jesus: “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way? ” (cf. Jn 14: 5).
Perhaps, he did not stop at the experience of his brothers and wanted to have his own experience.
With all the love he felt for Jesus, the desire to be beside Him and the feeling of guilt (as the other apostles also felt) for having abandoned Him in His agony, Thomas will not accept to just hear from his brothers: “We saw the Lord”. For him, it was not enough to listen, because he did not want to stop at the experience made by Pedro, João and the others.
Thomas didn’t just accept to hear Madalena’s narration, which told in detail the moment when he met with Mestre. Thomas boldly expresses his deepest desire. Who knows, besides the doubt in the words of his brothers, he reveals the personal agony of his soul? He wants to do his experiment and, listening to his companions, has increased his desire.
Listen and answer
Thomas is a man who is not afraid, a man who knows what he wants. Not only that, but also, asks the Lord, exposes himself and, with that, commits himself; and God does not fail to hear and attend to this man.
Many hear the experience of people who truly saw the Lord and were enchanted with Him, filled with the desire to live the same thing, for a testimony filled their hearts.
Like Thomas, you need to ask God for what you need to believe more. This man did not allow his faith to stop, because seeing his weakness, his disbelief, he places his heart before God.
Men who have no reservations before the Lord are those who touch the intimacy of the King. Thomas gave God his limits and He made him enter into His intimacy.