Saint Thomas Characteristic
Characteristics of Apostle Thomas according to the New Testament is certain that Thomas was a Jew and probably a Galilean (Acts 1:11), but we know absolutely nothing about his family, place of residence, or occupation.
What do we know about Thomas? He was present at the raising of Lazarus, where he showed his loyalty to Christ (John 11:16). During Jesus’ last Passover, he asked the way to God the Father (John 14:5).
According to the Characteristics of the 12 Apostles, Apostle Thomas was absent when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after the resurrection (John 20:24), and when he was told of it, he was skeptical (John 20:25).
Later, Christ appeared in his presence at least twice. Apostle Thomas was believed to be a doubter yet possessed certain characteristics that are worthy of emulation.
Tres rasgos admirables del apóstol Tomás
Pero, a modo de ejemplo espiritual, hay mucho más en Tomás. En el relato de Juan, exhibió tres rasgos positivos que deberían ser parte integral del carácter de todo cristiano.
First, when Thomas saw what he ought to do, nothing kept him back. When Lazarus became ill, Jesus expressed his intention of returning to Judea. Thomas urged the disciples to accompany Him even though they might die doing so:
“Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16).
Thomas backed his statement with action. In contrast, Simon Peter’s boast lacked commitment when he said,
“Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and death” (Luke 22:33).
En segundo lugar, cuando Thomas vio lo que debía hacer, quiso saber con urgencia cómo hacerlo. En su último servicio de Pascua con Jesucristo, sin miedo a mostrar su ignorancia, preguntó:
“Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5).
La pregunta de Thomas revela que es un buscador de la verdad y la comprensión. Su temperamento naturalmente cauteloso no cerró su mente a más conocimientos.
Third, when Thomas saw what he had to believe, he urgently wanted to prove it, and when he did, he had no doubts. Thomas was not present when the other disciples saw Christ appear as a mystery (John 20:24;John 20:25;John 20:26;John 20:27;John 20:28; john 20:29).
Algunos comentaristas sugieren que pudo haberse retirado a algún lugar tranquilo para llorar la muerte de Cristo. Incluso después de escuchar los relatos de las apariciones de Cristo a los demás y a María Magdalena, se negó a creer que había sucedido. Respondió,
“A menos que vea en sus manos la huella de los clavos y ponga mi mano en su costado, no creeré” (versículo 25).
Scripture is silent about the reason for his doubt. Maybe he thought his friends were only trying to cheer him up. Maybe he remembered them being wrong before on the Sea of Galilee when they had mistaken Christ for a spirit (Matthew 14:26).
All he wanted was the same evidence they had received. The other disciples had not believed until they had seen the resurrected Christ either (Mark 16:11;Mark 16:12;Mark 16:13;Luke 24:11;Luke 24:12). The news Thomas heard seemed too good to be true. But he did not reject what he heard; he simply wanted to test or prove all things (I Thessalonians 5:21).
Cuando el Cristo resucitado se le apareció ocho días después, la reacción inmediata de Tomás fue maravillosa: “Y Tomás respondió y le dijo:
‘My Lord and My God!'” (John 20:28).
Debido a los rasgos de carácter positivos de Tomás, Dios pudo abrir su mente y trabajar con él. Su fe fue instantánea y fuerte.
Características del apóstol Tomás
We have already dwelt on the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Still, we return to this passage today to focus on the thoughts that were going on in Thomas’ heart as Jesus contemplated returning to Jerusalem. Remember, the Jews had earlier accused Christ of blasphemy (John 10:33) and had prepared to stone Him as prescribed by the law of Moses (Leviticus 24:16).
Despite the obvious ill feeling against Him, that existed in some Jewish circles, Jesus decided to return to the Jerusalem area and visit Mary and Martha at their home in Bethany. Thomas’s declaration of loyalty is significant and quite moving:
“Vámonos también nosotros, para que muramos con él” (NVI).
Jesús acaba de enseñar a sus discípulos acerca de su inminente partida al cielo, prometiéndoles que después de haber preparado un lugar para ellos, regresará para llevarlos a su hogar celestial. Una de las declaraciones que hace Jesús es esta:
“You know where I am going and how to get there”.
Thomas está en total desacuerdo con esta afirmación y dice:
"No, no lo hacemos ... No tenemos ni idea de a dónde vas, así que, ¿cómo podemos saber lo que dices?"
Thomas no duda en desafiar cualquier cosa sobre la que no esté seguro. Aunque algunos pueden considerar su enfoque como grosero o impertinente, obviamente Jesús no lo cree así, porque Él le responde aclarando aún más Su punto:
"Yo soy el Camino y la Verdad y la Vida ..."
When Thomas, who was absent from that first post-resurrection meeting of Christ and His disciples, is told the thrilling news that he is alive is utterly bewildered. The disciples insist that they have seen the very scars that the nails made on Jesus’ body at His crucifixion.
Thomas, however, will not be swept off his feet by the testimony of others, and the independence of judgment we spoke of earlier comes again to the fore:
“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 it”.
At least Thomas confesses his doubts—something many Christians are too ‘spiritual’ to do.
Although no clear explanation is given to us in Scripture as to why Thomas missed that first post-resurrection meeting with the Lord, he appears to have been committed to staying in close touch with his fellow disciples—despite his doubts. We should not overlook that characteristic of Thomas.
When next Jesus appears to the disciples, Thomas is present and experiences the wonder of seeing the risen Christ face to face. Jesus responds to Thomas’s plea for physical proof in the most gentle and non-judgmental manner:
“Put your finger here; see my hand. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
As Thomas’s doubts are removed by seeing for himself the physical evidence in Christ’s hands and side, the unbeliever suddenly leaps beyond the other disciples and cries:
“My Lord and my God!”
Up until this time, none of the disciples had actually addressed Jesus as God.
They had called Him “Messiah,” “Son of God,” “Son of the living God”—but not “God.” This was probably one of the greatest and most revealing statements to have come from the group of disciples. And all the more significant because it came from a man who, up until the moment of seeing the physical evidence of Christ’s wounds, was a doubter and an unbeliever.
Resumen de las características del apóstol Tomás
Multitudes of Christians have been grateful that the Scripture has turned a spotlight upon Thomas and his doubts. Those who have struggled with doubts—or perhaps still do—find great comfort in the fact that Thomas, the doubter among the disciples, came through to radiant conviction and great spiritual achievement.
Tradition claims that Thomas traveled to many countries preaching the Gospel and finally landed in India, where, after founding a church, he was martyred. We cannot be sure about this, but this is what many of the Early Church writers, such as Eusebius, believed.