Today's verses are John 11:16-18: "So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with him.' Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off..." My child, I had just announced the need to go to Bethany where my dear friend, Lazarus, had just died. Thomas, one of my twelve, chosen disciples, immediately said to the others, "Let us go, that we may die with him." He knew that the religious establishment was growing increasingly hostile toward me. He knew the threats that had already been made against me. He knew that death was a real possibility for me. Therefore, he summoned my disciples to follow me, even if it meant death.
My friend Thomas is a perfect example of how someone can receive a bad reputation for one moment in his life, and that one moment not properly reflect his true character.
Let me tell you about my friend, Thomas. The Aramaic name "Thomas" means "the Twin". Yes, he was a twin. He had a sibling born the same time as he was. When I said to him, "Follow me", like the others, he dropped everything and followed me. He was faithful and loyal, as is evidenced here. He was willing to follow me to the death. He was willing to die for me and with me. He exhibited the words, "if you don't have anything to die for, you have nothing to live for". He also reflected the words of one of my future followers, a theologian and teacher named Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who gave his life for me in Germany during the Nazi tyranny, when he said, "When Jesus bids a person to come and follow him, he bids him to come and die". Thomas understood this statement when he decided to follow me.
My friend Thomas was also very thoughtful. He was not a superficial thinker. After my resurrection, the first time I appeared to my disciples, Thomas was not present. When they told him that they had seen me alive, he was skeptical. He said that unless he could touch the wounds in my hands and side, he would not believe.
His heart had been shattered by my death. He wanted visible reassurances before he recommitted to follow him. From this statement has come, wrongly, the moniker hung around his neck for centuries: "Doubting Thomas".
My child, doubt is not evil, if it leads to a deeper faith. As one person said, doubt can be "the ants in the pants of faith".
But I don't want my friend Thomas to be remembered for his doubts. I would prefer he be remembered for his great faith, his willingness to die for and with me, as is evidenced in these verses. I want my friend Thomas to be remembered for ultimately taking my gospel message east to India. There he gave his life for me, so people there could hear my message of love and forgiveness.
May your life today reflect Thomas' great faith in me and obedience to me. May he be an example for what it means truly to follow me.
You can trust me today.