While Thomas often gets dubbed “Doubting Thomas,” he was known to the other Apostles as the “Twin” (Didymus in Greek). In fact, the name Thomas is derived from the Aramaic and Hebrew for twin. All four Gospels mention Thomas as one of the Twelve Apostles, but only John offers some insight into the type of person Thomas truly was.
When Jesus announced that they would go to Lazarus (who had recently died) in Judea, the disciples expressed concern since the Jews there wanted to stone Jesus. However, Thomas states, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16).
When Jesus spoke of preparing a place for His disciples, Thomas was the one who inquired, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answers, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:5-6).
When he misses out on the appearance of the arisen Christ, Thomas declares, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger in the place of the nails and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). However, when Jesus does appear to him also, Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28), one of the clearest testimonies of who Jesus is.
According to the earliest records, in 52 ad Thomas travelled to India (possibly with Philip and Bartholomew) and was martyred on December 21, 72 ad, killed by the spears of soldiers. Thanks to courage and eyewitness testimony of Thomas and the other disciples, the Gospel of Christ continues to be proclaimed today. For example, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, a church in India with three million members, attributes Thomas as their founding minister. “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).