Monday, August 15, 2016

Thomas, a man of faith

To a great majority of people, Thomas, Yeshua's disciple has become the epitome of the doubter. The expression " doubting Thomas" is so popular that many people end up bragging: "I am like Thomas. I only believe what I see."
I am going to prove you that Yeshuda Toma aka Thomas Didymus, nicknamed the "twin", was actually a man of faith. Actually, you will never see Thomas with the same eyes after reading the following article.


Zechariah's prophecy and the disciples state of mind after Yeshua's crucifixion

All Gospel quotes are from Franz Delitzsch Gospels and the verse of Zechariah is from Tanakh.




picture from the movie "Thomas"




"Strike the shepherd, and the sheep be scattered, and I will turn against the insignificant ones"
 Zechariah 13:7
        הַךְ אֶת הָרֹעֶה וּתְפוּצֶיןָ הַצֹּאן וַהֲשִׁבֹתִי יָדִי עַל הַצֹּעֲרִים


Many people ( especially non believers) think that Yeshua's disciples were cowards and traitors to their Master. Yet I don't think that any of us would have done better.


Always bear in mind that you all know that Yeshua is the Messiah. Although they all shared His friendship, saw Him, ate with Him, laughed with Him and cried for rescue when they felt threatened, the disciples had no precise idea about WHO Yeshua actually was. Only Shim'on Petros, Peter revealed His identity once, because the Holy Spirit revealed it to him.

Many disciples expected Yeshua to deliver Israel from the Roman oppressors. The Messiah was supposed to put everything in order and to restore peace.

Now imagine the precious friend who was part of their daily life, whom they had set all their hopes in, gets betrayed and dies the painful death of a criminal ( for a Jewish person, it was a shame to get crucified. This punishment was reserved to the worst criminals.)

The disciple were really hit hard by Yeshua's death. They were hopeless. At the same time they were fearing persecution and had to hide.

The Gospel of John clearly tells us that the disciples did not understand that the Messiah had to suffer according to the prophecies and to rise from the dead after three days;


"For they did not understand what was written, that He would rise from the dead" John, Chapter 20, verse 9

Thomas' quotes in the Gospels

Yeshua appears to Thomas 

"Toma who is called Didumos, one of the Twelve had not been in their midst when Yeshua entered.
The rest of the disciples told him about, saying: " We have surely seen the Master!"
He said to them: "If I do not see the wound marks of the nails in His hands, put my finger on the place of the nails and put my hand on His side, I will not believe." John 20:24-29



"At the end of the 8 days, the disciples were in the house a second time and Toma was with them.
Yeshua entered, and yet the doors were closed. He stood among them and said: "Shalom to you."
After that, He said to Toma: " Extend your finger here and look at my hands. Reach your hand here and place it on my side. Do not let your faith be lacking, but rather believe." Toma answered and said to him: "My Master and my God" (אדֹני ואלֹהי)
Yeshua said to him: "Because you have seen me, you believe. O gladness of those who believe yet do not see."


From a personal point of view, I feel a lot of empathy for Thomas, because, in some ways, I am quite similar. I mean, I have always been a believer, even in my worst sinning days. I've always loved Yeshua. I cannot think of one time that I hated our Lord. Even when I rejected Him openly, my heart still had a secret corner where He was loved. I used to believe, but I think that I have been a big doubter as well, on many occasions, and even after Yeshua approached me.

Yeshua knows that I needed to feel, to hear and to see Him...and, in His immense goodness, He granted me the desire of my heart.
He granted it to me because I was committed to do His will.

Now back to Thomas: often people do not understand that Thomas, as a disciple, has always been a man of faith. Thomas loved Yeshua very much and he was heartbroken when Yeshua died on the Cross. His pain was so immense that he didn't want to be fooled by some kind of " hallucination" from his friends that he probably thought to be desperate enough to imagine Yeshua alive before them. He wanted to experience by himself. Note that immediately after seeing and touching Yeshua, Thomas utters a strong confession of faith: "Adonai ve Elohai"  (אדֹני ואלֹהי), my Lord and my God.

This expression is also linked with a personal experience I had with Yeshua. One night, I fell asleep and I saw Yeshua standing before me, all dressed in white, and, eyes closed, I stated twice: "My Lord and my God". If you are curious to read it, I shared this experience in An Encounter with Yeshua.





Thomas' enigmatic quote from John 11:16


Thomas, who is called Didymus  said to his fellow disciples: "Let us go as well, so that we may die with him."

If we single it out from the whole text of John 11, it becomes even more deranging. Therefore I will quote the preceding verses:

"After He spoke things like this, He said to them, "our beloved Lazar ( Eleazar, Lazarus) is asleep, I am going, so that I may wake him.
The disciples said to Him: "My Master, if he is sleeping, he will recover.

Yeshua was speaking about his death, but they thought that He was speaking about sleeping for rest."

The answers of the disciples point at some state of spiritual blindness or maybe a refusal to accept the hypothesis of Lazarus' physical death. Yeshua uses a metaphor that they are unable to decipher.
So Yeshua needs to them plainly.

"Then Yeshua said to them plainly: "Lazar is dead."  I am glad for your sake that I was not there so that you may believe. And now let us travel and go to him."

Yeshua will resurrect Lazarus so the disciples may BELIEVE.

As Yeshua is inviting His disciples to travel and go to see Lazarus, Thomas makes this enigmatic statement:

"Let us go as well, so that we may die with him."

A lot of scholars have used this statement to make Thomas look like a pessimistic, negative and maybe suicidal character. 
I must say that this verse intrigued me, this is the least I can say, so I asked our Lord to open my understanding of it.

I am not going to give you a classical interpretation, this is what I saw, with the help of the Spirit:
After Yeshua spoke of the reality of Lazarus' death, He made it clear that He would perform a miracle. He would resurrect His dead friend and bring the disciples to faith by performing this act.
In this instant we can assume that Thomas became conscious of the symbolism of death and resurrection, realizing that one must die at first before being reborn.

The Gospel of John is very subtle and intended to allow the committed disciple reach spiritual heights with the help of the Spirit. It is very uplifting when you allow the Spirit to direct your read.





The "Gospel of Thomas"





I've read the Gospel of Thomas back in the 90's  out of curiosity. While it is often slated for being " gnostic", I didn't find anything really negative in it. Other people consider it to be a " lost Gospel". Frankly, I would have to re-read it in order to reformulate a sharper opinion about it. But I'll let you judge by yourselves and have a look at the document that supposedly carries some "secret words" of Yeshua.


The movie "Thomas"





I've watched this movie a few months ago. It unveils Thomas' emotional side and love for Yeshua our Messiah. Just have a look and judge by yourself.


Thomas' mission

According to the following article,Thomas supposedly died in the year 72 as a martyr.
Thomas is said to have traveled to India in order to preach the Gospel.
A lot of stories and legends have been built around Yeshua's disciple. I won't get into details as I think sticking to the Gospels is much safer.


While I was apologizing to our Lord for my doubting character, Yeshua told me: "It is better to have Thomas' faith than none." 
If you love Yeshua and you are committed to Him, single moments of doubt will not compromise your faith. Walk in humbleness with Yeshua, as the disciples did.
Sometimes they failed at their task miserably. Thomas did. But most importantly, he loved Yeshua and after doubting, he came back with a stronger faith and testimony.
We are just human. Our Lord understands when we doubt and He comes to our rescue.
You might doubt a lot of things. However, never doubt His immense love and compassion, for it lasts for ever and ever.


Copyright© by Isabelle Esling

2 comments:

  1. Hello Isabelle! Thank you for that insightful and much needed blog post. It was encouraging (particularly the end) and it gave me and I pray so many others, clarity on who Thomas truly was. I ask you, what Bible translation do you commonly read, and use for your posts? I will be glad to know. Thank you for your obedience and your writing. May our God continually to bless you. Have a great day!

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  2. Hello GraceChild, many thanks for taking the time to read my article.
    I do use different translations, sometimes the Complete Jewish Bible, sometimes the Orthodox Jewish Bible, or one of the numerous English translations, depending on the points I desire to develop...the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels are actually a very helpful source for me and I am using them very much when working on NT themes, especially to expand the meaning of Yeshua's words in a Hebrew context...I always ask Yeshua to help me enlighten a meaning...I do realize that i have spent years reading the Bible without really reading it! The Holy Spirit makes the difference in terms of understanding. May Hashem bless you in abundance too:)

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