We are indebted to the twin among the apastolic band for a crystal clear confession of faith as to just who our Jesus is. As we continue the resurrection celebration, let’s be reminded that such a bold confession is not one of words only. It is a confession that in the apostle’s case also betokened a new life of service to the ever-living King.
Once he had asked: “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Our Lord’s answer in part was: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (Jn. 14:5-6). According to tradition, in the year A.D. 52 Thomas arrived in ancient India to present this one true God that He might replace the false Krishna, Siva, Vishnu, etc. in the hearts of both Brahmin and Outcaste.
There is evidence from as early as the second century that Thomas labored in India. The Syriac “Doctrine of the Apostles” refers to Judas Thomas writing from India. In the apocryphal “Acts of St. Thomas” from the third century the story goes: “When the Apostles had been for a time in Jerusalem, they divided the countries among them in order that each one might preach in the region which fell to him; and India fell to the lot of Judas Thomas.” According to the tradition, as Paul was on the outset of his third missionary journey, Thomas began evangelizing the west coast of India. During his possible ten years of labor along this coast, tradition says he reached many of the higher castes with the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ.
The newness of life that Thomas had in the resurrected Lord compelled him to work also on the east coast. After perhaps seven more years of witnessing to both kingly potentate and forsaken commoner, he was martyred in the southern part of what is now Madras. Once Thomas had said: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (Jn. 11:16). He would die not with His Savior, but for Him. It is reported that an assassin hired by a local king’s heathen priest did in Thomas as he prayed, piercing him by a spear. Thomas may have died about the same time that Paul did.
“And last a villain hastier than the rest,
Pierced with a cruel spear his godly breast.
Wept Ganges and Indus, true Thome, thy fate,
Weep thee whatever lands his foot had trod.”
Thomas does not weep though, as His soul awaits the glorious resurrection guaranteed to all who make the profession of Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20:28)
Over the years there have been many things written about where Thomas’ body was and where it was taken. In 1523 the supposed grave of Thomas was opened. They found some bones, though many had long since turned to dust.
What a glorious day we have to look forward to, won for us by the resurrected Lord, when all the saints will arise to glorious life everlasting. In the meantime, let us labor faithfully with the profession on our tongues and Christ in our hearts.
–Pastor David Koenig