Q:

What happened during the life of Thomas the Apostle to warrant the name "Doubting Thomas?"

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Quick Answer

Thomas was a disciple of Jesus Christ whose first response to the other disciples who said they had seen Jesus after his death was that he would not believe unless he put his fingers into the crucifixion wounds on Jesus' hands and side. According to John 20:24-29, Jesus then personally appeared to Thomas, who exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"

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Full Answer

Thomas was one of the original 12 disciples who traveled with Jesus during his ministry and had witnessed Jesus' death on the cross. According to the New Testament of the Bible, three days after Jesus' death, he rose again to life and appeared to many people, including his disciples, but Thomas was not with them the first time he appeared. The other disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus alive, but he doubted until he himself saw Jesus. After appearing to Thomas, Jesus stated, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Thomas is known as "Doubting Thomas" because he had initially doubted the other disciples' report that Jesus was alive again, yet he made one of the strongest professions of faith in Jesus once he himself saw the risen Jesus. Tradition holds that Thomas went on to faithfully carry the message of Jesus Christ to India, where he was martyred for his faith in A.D. 72.

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