The Stubborn Apostle

 

Once, as the rector of the church in the name of the
Apostle Thomas, I happened to hear such a conversation:
“This church is abnormal—only unbelievers come
here. That’s why it’s named in honor of Thomas
the unbeliever!” It’s just a little anecdote,
but it causes many to wonder, who is this
“unbelieving” apostle?

The Lord Jesus Christ chose for Himself twelve men to be
His closest disciples. By His commission the apostles
founded the first Christian communities and led the
Church. One of these twelve was Thomas.

The touch of Divine might does not break the human
personality. After turning to Christ the same character
and temperament which were given to him at birth remain
with a man, but in the meantime all his personal qualities
simply blossom by contact with the Lord’s life.
Thomas, apparently, was by nature skeptical
and stubborn, and these qualities especially manifested
themselves in his ministry. For example, during the
earthly life of the Savior, when all the apostles feared
to go to Jerusalem,
where Christ was threatened with punishment, Thomas simply
said: Let us also go, that we may die with Him
(Jn. 11:16). And now the obstinacy of a Christian often
turns into steadfastness and is connected with a peculiar
bravery.

When the Lord appeared to His disciples for the first time
after His Resurrection, for some reason Thomas was not
with them. When the other apostles told him of the
Resurrection of Christ, the “unbelieving”
apostle said: Except I shall see in his hands the
print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of
the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not
believe
(Jn. 20:25). It turned out to be quite
difficult to accept the news about the victory over death
even for those who saw Christ face to face and learned
from Him. But Thomas was honest in his doubts and
didn’t feign to believe. Surely his brethren tried
to convince him, but he remained firm—he needed to
personally make sure that Christ was risen.

 

Fr. Daniel SisoyevFr. Daniel Sisoyev
A week later all the apostles gathered
together, and Christ again appeared to them. Seeing the
risen Teacher, Thomas “the unbeliever”
froze on spot in amazement, but the Lord said to him:
Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and
reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and
be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered
and said unto him, My Lord and my God
(Jn.
20:27-28)—thus he is the first of all the
disciples of Christ to call Him God.

Paradoxically Thomas’ disbelief only emphasizes the
faith of the apostle and helps us to believe. This
disbelief only confirms for us the fact of Christ’s
victory over death. Now we know that we die not forever,
that we do not need to fear the grave. Its predatory mouth
will release all its prisoners, for God has promised us
eternal life in the flesh. And it’s not simply a
promise, for Christ, the Firstborn of the dead, is already
risen, to carry out from the grave with Him all of
mankind.

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