Look, you can’t blame a brother for wanting to be sure. You’ve got to keep your wits about you. Have a healthy scepticism. Stay on your guard. Better safe than sorry, that’s what I always say.
And yeah, I know what they say about me. I’ve heard all the names. I don’t care – I’m just looking out for myself.
See, I’ve always been Number 2. I’ve always been playing catch-up. It’s what happens when you’ve got a twin brother. There’s always a winner and a loser. Someone’s gotta lose. I was so sick of it being me.
Never got to pick my seat at the table. Never the one chosen by Dad to help him out in the field. Always stuck with the smaller portion at dinner.
I was late to the world by 2 minutes – and I’ve been playing catch-up all my life.
So, I became who I became. If was always going to lose, I figured, better to just prepare myself mentally for defeat. It makes it that bit less painful when it inevitably happens.
Getting on the boat? Ahh, it’s sure to capsize, let’s just get it over with. Greek test? Why bother studying, there’s no way I’ll pass. New pair of sandals? Probably last a day. Two, max.
I gotta be honest – I think it’s why I left home when I did. There didn’t seem anything worth staying for. When he came calling, everyone else got pretty excited, but cross my heart, it didn’t really sound that big a deal to me. But it was better than rotting at home.
Sometimes I thought I was the only sane one in that group. We kept getting into weirder and weirder situations and it got pretty dicey at times. I don’t know why the rest of them put up with it. But they all kept hanging in there, so I did, too.
To be fair to me, I did warn them. I kept warning them, if we keep following this guy, we’re all going to get in trouble. He had a lot of fans, but he sure had a lot of enemies.
There was this one time, a good friend of ours fell sick. Actually, he died, but that’s another story for another time. The problem was, the wake was in a pretty awful place. The guys there? They tried to lynch us the last time we were there.
Don’t go there, we warned him. That’s a suicide mission. But he was always so certain, you know? We couldn’t talk him out of anything.
He packed his stuff – he really didn’t carry much, most nights we didn’t even have a pillow to sleep on – and just took off. The rest of them looked at each other. Do we go with him this time?
I guess it was my fault that we went along. I was thinking through my options: Stick with him, or go back home, where no better life awaited me. I thought about it for a while, and eventually, I gave up thinking. It hurt my head. “Let’s also go – that we may die with him,” I told them.
I really thought he was a flake. I mean sure, we saw a lot of really impressive stuff along the way, but, well, coincidences can happen.
There was another time, for example, when I coulda sworn he was talking gibberish. Garbage. It just didn’t make sense.
He said, “If you know me, you know my father.” Which, like, is just ridiculous. Like, if you know me, you don’t know my father … though I suppose if you know me, you’d know what my twin brother looks like, but that’s different.
I think that’s the same conversation where he said to us, “Don’t worry. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
I was like, whuuut are you talking about, have you been hanging out too much with the drunk dudes? “We don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?” I told him.
And he said – get this – that he was the way.
I still don’t really know what he meant.
I know I’ve been sounding pretty negative about the whole thing so far. Look, it’s just how I talk, okay? You can’t grow up like me, thinking and speaking this way for all my life, then expect me to change overnight.
Which is why I was really surprised – more surprised than everyone else, I suspect – the day it dawned upon me what had really been happening all those years, and I called him something I never, ever thought I would.
My Lord and my God.
I mean, who talks like that, right?
I’ll tell you who talks like that: A man who has seen his friend die – he died, without a doubt, not just possibly dead but dead dead, I was there – and then, days later, met him again in the flesh. The scarred flesh.
That day I knew that Jesus was truly a holey man. (Get it?)
I mean, he was on the cross! THE CROSS! No one is put up on one of those things and survives! The other two dudes on the crosses beside him that day, they totally died. Frankly I’m amazed Jesus even made it up onto the cross, I thought they’d’a killed him with all the whipping they’d done to him earlier that day.
But he was just so determined to get to Calvary.
Jesus died. He died. We saw it. We saw them stab his body, just to be certain, and water and blood poured out. My friend Luke – he’s a doctor – tells me that only happens if a man has been dead for a while. The soldiers seemed sure; they didn’t even bother breaking his legs like they always do.
Which is why I was so surprised to see him a few days later. I mean, sure, the other 11 – sorry, I think we were down to 10 by then – kept telling me, “We have seen the Lord!”
And you know what? For once in my life, I wanted to believe. I really wanted them to be right. Jesus, he kept almost getting us killed, but I loved him. I wanted him back.
But I couldn’t help myself. It’s why they all still call me Didymus, the Twin – I was second best, always, so it’s just second nature for me to be cynical; I’ve trained myself to expect the worse. It’s just easier to get through life that way.
So I told them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
And a few days later … well, I got all of that. I don’t even know how he got into the house; we’d locked all the doors. But there he was. And they musta told him what I’d been saying. Cos Jesus headed Right. To. Me.
“Thomas, put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side,” he said. So I did.
“Stop doubting and believe.”
So that’s where we are now. He’s gone again, like he said he would, but I’m okay this time. I know he’s had it all figured out all along. From here on out, I’ll stick to his plan. It makes a lot more sense than mine.
Honestly, I know I was a bit iffy about Jesus at first – but I would do anything for him now. Anything. A bunch of the others have gone to some pretty far-out places just to talk about him, and I think I will, too. It’s not like we’re really welcome here.
I think my boy Andrew went far, far northeast. I’m told it’s freezing there. A couple of them went to Ethiopia. Syria.
Me? I’ve been hearing a lot about this place called India. I don’t know much about it, but I just have a good feeling about it. I’m sure they could use a bit of Jesus there.
Don’t worry about me now. I got this. I’m done with worrying. I mean – India! It’s all gonna be good.
No doubt about it.
This is an adapted account of the Apostle known as Doubting Thomas, as told in chapters 11, 14 and 20 of the Gospel of John.