The Disciple Thomas

Based on John 20:24-28

Room 102

The disciple, Thomas, is often given the nickname “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted the fact that Jesus had really risen from the dead.  It is not unusual for people to question a belief or ask for verification concerning various facts. Although we know little about Thomas, the event portrayed on the mosaic panel suggests that Thomas was a realist.  He was most likely an intelligent, practical minded man who was trying to sort out the complicated issues of life and of death.

As you look at the mosaic, the tall brown wall is a “wall of unbelief and doubt” which consumed the mind of Thomas because he just experienced the death of Jesus.  He knew that death exterminated life and all human logic could not counter that fundamental truth. He was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples.  Now, when he was told that Jesus was indeed alive, he could not fathom such a happening.  In bold red words the artist points to Thomas’s struggle to verify the facts as he stated, “Except I shall see in his hand the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

About a week later the disciples were together again and this time Thomas was present. Jesus appeared and spoke to Thomas.  He said, “Put your finger here and see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it in my side.  Do not doubt, but believe”

Upon seeing Jesus for himself, Thomas didn’t need any more proof.  Looking in the lower right corner of the panel the artist captures his response.  In amazement and with conviction, Thomas replies, “My Lord and my God.”  Even though Thomas just couldn’t make sense of the idea that Jesus was alive, seeing Him, put things into a new perspective.   He realized God’s plan of salvation was accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

When Thomas found his proof and saw Jesus, his life changed.  Perhaps he was relieved to know that having a relationship with God did not depend on his understanding or logic. Meeting Jesus did not stifle his intellect, but gave him a new insight to the purpose and meaning of life. He knew the God of the universe was personal and cared about him. In spite of a broken world, laced with injustice and cruelty, God would be with him.  He recognized that nothing was stable in life and that death was eminent. Because he had seen the risen Christ, there was something far greater than this life could offer.  It was a permanent relationship with a loving God which would last forever.

In this panel, as Thomas peers around the wall, the 3 crosses and the open grave site  verify the fact that Jesus was alive. The white figure of Jesus approaches him with outstretched hands demonstrating God’s love and acceptance of even a skeptic like Thomas.

As he traveled, his life demonstrated his confidence he had in the promises of Christ. Thomas is believed to have preached in Parthia, in Persia and in India. His mission was to help others “see Jesus” so they too could be blessed by having a relationship with God. The word India is written in nails to represent his mission work in that country.

In memory of Mr. Herbert Schanoske

Donated by Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Marquardt

Last Published: February 19, 2016 11:54 AM
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