4/04/2013

Double Vision

I apologize to anyone who has that 1978 Foreigner song in their head now.

I'm not writing about that song.  Believe it or not, I'm writing about thomas

Traditionsays that Thomas went to India and is considered the one who introduced Christianity there. He became known as Thomas the Believer.

But the doubting Thomas name is the one that has ultimately survived.

What about the other nicknames for Thomas? In this week's Bible reading from John 20:19-31, there's another name - or two. Thomas is called "didymus," which means "the twin.

Twin?

Didymus means 'twin' in Greek. And the Aramaic word for twin?

Thomas.

So Thomas the twin -- or twin twin-- (Some think his given name is really Jude and Thomas Didymus are nicknames) who wasn't there when Jesus appeared to the other disciples, doubted the appearance had happened. And then Jesus came again and showed Thomas. And Thomas believed -- exclaiming, "My Lord and My God!"

Jesus response, often seen as a rebuke, I think simply displays a reality. Thomas believed because he saw -- and blessed are the ones who will believe without seeing.

I tend to ponder that 'didymus' part a whole lot more. Was Thomas a twin? Is that why he wasn't with the disciples the first time? Was he visiting his twin? Did Thomas simply look like someone else -- another disciple or even Jesus -- and is that why he got the nickname? Is Thomas the nickname for Jude -- the brother of Jesus? Were they twins? Did they just look alike? Is there more to this simple word than the passage lets on?

Questions about our faith, our experience with God, our understanding of the Bible, and even our belief didn't start with Thomas and they certainly don't end with us. I believe we will continue to study, doubt, struggle, reject and misunderstand God for as long as we breathe.

So is there anything good about this doubt, struggle, rejection, and misunderstanding?

Well. . . maybe not. But God has given us minds to think and the ability to learn. Some can believe simply because they believe. Others ask a whole lot more questions.

God's neighborhood is big enough for the doubters and the believers. What do you think about that kind of double vision?

1 comment:

Cindi Knox said...

You know, the disciples doubted the women. Maybe it's not a big deal when men doubt women. (But the women were right.)

And about the twin thing... just some random thoughts...

OK, so what if Thomas looks like Jesus?

What if the disciples get together after Jesus dies, and suddenly Jesus shows up? And the guy who looks like Jesus isn't there?

What if the disciples say "we saw Jesus!" and people ask "was the twin there too?" And the disciples say "um, no."

Would people ask "are you sure it was Jesus and not the twin?"

"Dude, we're totally sure. We can tell them apart."

They could corner Thomas, and he'd say "no, I totally was not there. In fact, I don't even believe it was Jesus. Not until I see him and touch him."

To some, it might seem a little too convenient. But what if Jesus and Thomas were there together? What if Thomas touched Jesus? That ought to silence the doubters.

Santa is your uncle Frank in costume - until they're both there. Superman is Clark Kent - until they're both there.

I'm not saying Thomas was the person people thought was the resurrected Jesus. But this story might just be an opportunity to squash any rumors that he was.