Show Me~ The Rt. Rev. Michael Beckett, OPI
If you were going to be famous for one thing, what would it be? I can think of a host of reasons for which I’d like to be famous. Curing cancer. Discovering how to teleport. Ending world hunger. I suppose the list goes on. There are folks who are famous, or infamous, for doing that one thing that they prolly shouldn’t oughta have done. Typhoid Mary. Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. Jim Jones. Brutus. Whoever designed the Ford Pinto.
And Doubting Thomas. Thomas the Apostle—often referred to as “Doubting Thomas”—was one of the twelve main disciples of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, Thomas famously doubted Jesus’ resurrection, telling the other disciples, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
Jesus then appeared and offered to let him do just that.
So our boy, Thomas, is most noted for one thing, and one thing only. He doubted that Jesus had been resurrected, and wanted proof. He had to see it to believe it. Just for the heck of it, I’m gonna share with you some “fun facts” about Thomas: Thomas is mentioned a total of eight times between the four gospels and Acts. Most of what we learn about him comes from the Gospel of John—the only book of the New Testament that gives him any specific role. And dig this: In three of the times Thomas is mentioned, the Bible notes that he was called “didymos,” a Greek word meaning “twin,” which was often used as a name. Unless your name is Thomas, it may surprise you to learn that the modern name “Thomas” comes from the Aramaic word tĕʾomâ, which means . . . twin.
Yup. The Apostle Thomas doesn’t even have an actual name in the Bible. Poor guy! Everyone literally just refers to him as “the twin.” Interestingly, tĕʾomâ is just a description in Aramaic—it doesn’t appear to be used as a name—but didymos was used as both a description and a name. And The Bible never mentions who Thomas’ twin is.
So there ya have it, St. Thomas the Apostle in a nutshell. Now, let’s talk about this “doubting” thing he had goin’ on. The bummer here, for Thomas anyway, is that, again, he’s known as the “doubter.” But, y’all, he wasn’t the only one! Remember when Mary Magdalene and company went to the tomb last week, found it empty, and ran back to tell the disciples that Jesus was risen? Did they believe her. Big ol’ nope. The thing about Thomas though, is he got a “special appearance” by Jesus Himself: Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” —John 20:24–29
So, where does that leave us? There’s this: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. And when I was in teacher training many years ago, it was hammered into our heads, “Show, don’t tell.” And “If you want a behavior, teach it.”
Same thing goes for our lives and showing the world what and who Jesus is. Jesus ain’t gonna pop up wherever we are and say, “Yo, look! Here I am!” We have to do that. Us. You’ve heard me say it at least a zillion and one times: You are the only Jesus some folks will ever see and the only Bible some folks will ever read. We spread the Good News by living as Jesus has commanded us to. (Remember that “mandate” thing I talked about on Maundy Thursday?) We love. Regardless of sex. Regardless of gender, or gender identity. Regardless of sexual preference. Regardless of politics. Regardless of anything else that might separate us. There is no one on this planet who God doesn’t love. There is no one on this planet who Jesus didn’t die for. Period. Love. One. Another.
During this Eastertide, let us all examine our hearts, our lives, our attitudes. We, all of us, need to check ourselves, ask ourselves, “Is what I’m doing/saying/being something that Jesus would say/be proud of/want?” If the answer is even a tiny little negative, then maybe/perhaps/probably we need to do a bit of changing of our ways. Again, you are the only Jesus some folks will ever see, the only Bible some folks will ever read. We gotta do better. We have to show the world.
Let there be no doubt about that.
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