We all remember the story of "Doubting Thomas." He, like so many others today, said, "Unless I see it, touch it, and experience it, it isn't real!" He was, of course, referring to the resurrection of Jesus. Without the resurrection of Jesus the "Good News" of the Gospel falls flat on its face. As the Apostle Paul put it, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (I Corinthians 15:14).
But that was before he actually saw the risen Christ. What happened to him? Doubting Thomas does not stay a doubter. When he sees the risen Jesus, all that Jesus had taught over the years now clicks in, and to his death Thomas is an outspoken advocate for his Lord.
Early Christian writers tells us that he preached in ancient Babylon, near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where Iraq is today. He traveled to Persia, present-day Iran, and continued to win disciples to the Christian faith.
Then he sailed south to Malabar on the west coast of India in 52 AD. He preaches, establishes churches, and wins to Christ high caste Brahmins, as well as others. When the Portuguese land in India in the early 1600s, they find a group of Christians there — the Mar Thoma Church--established through Thomas' preaching a millennium and a half before.
Finally, Thomas travels to the east coast of India, preaching relentlessly. He is killed near Mylapore about 72 AD, near present-day Madras. Tradition tells us that he is thrown into a pit, then pierced through with a spear thrown by a Brahmin.
He who had so fervently proclaimed his unbelief carried the Christian message of love and forgiveness to the ends of the earth in his own generation.
Thomas would speak to doubters today, to those of us who have seen our hopes and dreams destroyed. Doubting Thomas would tell his story of how Jesus' life had intercepted his own. He would tell us of his fears and his doubts. And then, with a radiant, joyful face, Thomas, Apostle to India, would recount his joy at seeing and knowing the risen Jesus himself. "My Lord and my God!" he would say, as the entire direction of his life is changed forever.
Thomas was consistent enough to act on what he believed, and it took him to the ends of the earth. How far will your faith take you?
- Adapted from “Joyful Heart” Ministries
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship