Thomas was one of Jesus Christ's 12 apostles, specially chosen to spread the gospel after the Lord's crucifixion and resurrection. The Apostle Thomas was not present when the risen Jesus first appeared to the disciples. When told by the others, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas replied that he would not believe it unless he could actually touch Jesus' wounds.
Jesus later presented himself to the apostles and invited Thomas to inspect his wounds. Thomas was also present with the other disciples at the Sea of Galilee when Jesus appeared to them again.
Although it is not used in the Bible, the nickname "Doubting Thomas" was given to this disciple because of his disbelief about the resurrection. People who are skeptical are sometimes referred to as a "Doubting Thomas."
The Apostle Thomas traveled with Jesus and learned from him for three years. Tradition holds that he carried the gospel to the east and was martyred for his faith.
When Jesus' life was at risk by returning to Judea after Lazarus had died, the Apostle Thomas courageously told his fellow disciples they should go with Jesus, no matter what the danger.
Like the other disciples, Thomas deserted Jesus during the crucifixion. Despite listening to Jesus' teaching and seeing all his miracles, Thomas demanded physical proof that Jesus had risen from the dead. His faith was based solely on what he could touch and see for himself.
All of the disciples, except John, deserted Jesus at the cross. They misunderstood and doubted Jesus, but the Apostle Thomas is singled out in the gospels because he put his doubt into words.
It is worth noting that Jesus did not scold Thomas for his doubt. In fact, Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds and see for himself.
Today, millions of people stubbornly want to witness miracles or see Jesus in person before they will believe in him, but God asks us to come to him in faith. God provides the Bible, with eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life, crucifixion and resurrection to strengthen our faith.
In response to the Apostle Thomas' doubts, Jesus said that those who believe in Christ as Savior without seeing him—that's us—are blessed.
Referenced in the Bible:
Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; John 11:16, 14:5, 20:24-28, 21:2; Acts 1:13.
The Apostle Thomas' occupation before he met Jesus is unknown. After Jesus' ascension, he became a Christian missionary.
Thomas has two names in the New Testament. Thomas, in Greek, and Didymus, in Aramaic, both meaning "twin." Scripture does not give the name of his twin, nor any other information about his family tree.
Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." (NIV)
Then he (Jesus) said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (NIV)
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (NIV)
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (NIV)