July 3rd is the official Feast Day for St. Thomas the Apostle. Learning about St. Thomas’s life, his role in Christianity, and his death can help you fully appreciate his Feast Day and enable you to teach others about this amazing saint’s contributions. Here’s how he earned the nickname, “Doubting Thomas,” and other facts about his life.
St. Thomas’s Life as an Apostle
St. Thomas was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. He was born Jewish, although the date of his birth and death remain unknown. He was a dedicated follower of Christ who inspired one of the most well-known Christian prayers in history. His outcry of faith in the New Testament, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28), after Jesus told him to “Not disbelieve, but believe” is a phrase that today’s Christian community still repeats. However, St. Thomas wasn’t always such a pillar of faith.
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St. Thomas the Apostle earned the unfortunate nickname of “Doubting Thomas” because he infamously doubted Jesus’ Resurrection. He was prepared to die with Jesus when Christ traveled to Jerusalem, but was reluctant to go on the mission. He only believed in the Resurrection after touching Christ’s wounds in his hands and sides – after which he made the statement referenced from John above.
In John 20:29, Jesus compliments St. Thomas, giving Christianity another staple verse:
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Other nicknames St. Thomas accrued include the “Apostle of India,” “Didymus,” “Judas Thomas,” and “The Twin.” St. Thomas eventually went on to establish several churches and parishes. He purportedly baptized the Three Wise Men from the Nativity story into Christianity.
Why Celebrate St. Thomas?
St. Thomas the Apostle was not without his faults. However, we can also remember him for his courage. He may have run away when it came time to prove his faith, but he was sincere when he said he was willing to die with Jesus. In John 11:16, it was Thomas who said to the other disciples,
“Let us also go, that we may die with him”
when discussing Jesus’ passage to Bethany after the death of Lazarus. Thomas said this knowing they would be walking straight into enemy territory – practically certain death. St. Thomas is, therefore, an example of courage in the face of hardship and fear, as well as a testament of faith despite his occasional doubts. St. Thomas is recognized as the patron saint of architects because he built things – he constructed a palace in India for King Guduphara as well as the first church in India. St. Thomas took money from an Indian king to build a palace that would last forever. Thomas promptly gave the money to the poor and explained to the king that the “palace” he was building was in Heaven, not on Earth. St. Thomas also figuratively built a spiritual foundation through his faith in Christ. This July 3rd, celebrate St. Thomas with a clear understanding of who he was and what he’s done for Christianity.