Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
John 20:27 (NIV)
I’m not sure why my parents named me Thomas. Perhaps there was an alliteration piece to it since they already hat Terry and Tim. It’s ironic that the etymological root of the name Thomas meant “twin,” since I wasn’t a twin and brothers are. That always felt like a mistake in my book, though my parents confessed to me that I was an “oops” baby, so there’s been no forethought given to having to name another boy.
As a child, I remember names and namesakes being discussed on the playground and in friend groups. There were certain bragging rights for those who had really cool etymological roots or definitions to their names like “King” or “Mighty Warrior.” Some kids linked their names with famous people who happened to have the same moniker.
Of course, in that playground conversation I always got linked to “doubting Thomas.”
In retrospect, as an Enneagram Type Four, it was probably prescient that my parents named me the same as Mr. Doubt. I have the deep pessimistic streak that comes naturally to Fours. I have a very vivid memory of my mom rolling her eyes at me in frustration and exclaiming, “You’re such a pessimist!” (I didn’t know what it meant at the time.) So perhaps the doubting one is an apt namesake for me, despite the angst it created within me during playground conversations.
And, Fours like to be special. We have a flair for the dramatic. So it would fit that Thomas enjoys the rather special, and dramatic moment when Jesus suddenly appears behind locked doors and tells Thomas to touch His scars and feel the hole in His side. I’ve always had a personal love for Caravaggio’s dramatic depiction of the moment.
In the quiet this morning, I find my thoughts less focused in the story, and more focused on my identity and my connection to the Story. Which is what John point out at the end of the chapter. As he is wrapping up his biography, he rather blatantly reminds his readers of the thing I’ve observed multiple times in these posts over the past few weeks. John had a limitless number of stories and anecdotes about Jesus that he could have shared with readers. He chose specific stories for a specific purpose:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:30-31 (NIV)
John’s biography is the first thing I read after becoming a follower of Jesus. This doubting Thomas, this pessimistic, dramatic Enneagram Four, counts myself among John’s readers who have believed and received; I am numbered among those whom Jesus named when He said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Mom? Dad? I think you got my name right.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.