This post originally appeared in my Advent 2015 blog.
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He’s the Twin. In Aramaic the name Ta’oma means ‘Twin’, and so in the Gospels Thomas gets the Greek nickname Didymos “Twin”. But whose twin is Thomas?
Some say he had a twin sister Lydia. But to be remembered only as ‘The Twin’, is it possible that Jesus was Thomas’ twin? There is certainly a tradition that claims Jesus and Thomas were twins. Maybe even identical twins, as didymos also means ‘double’.
Thomas could have been Jesus’ double. It’s an intriguing possibility. It may explain why of all the disciples, Thomas was prepared to say, ‘Let us also go [to Jerusalem], that we may die with him.’ (John 11:16). Thomas certainly wanted to stick close by Jesus, even when he didn’t understand where that would lead. ‘Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” ‘(John 14:6)
And the need for physical closeness to his twin was also apparent when he reached to verify his physical reality after the resurrection. The gospel-writer never refers to him as ‘Doubting’, but always calls Thomas ‘the Twin’ (John 20:24) when Thomas cries out ‘My Lord and My God!’ (John 20:28).
Twins have a special bond, closer than that of most siblings. We can learn from Thomas to also be twins of Jesus, at our best prepared to share his road, but also feeling safe enough to share our bafflement, ‘Where are we going?’ ‘Lord, can it be really you?’ Above all, to wonder that the One to whom we are so intimately bound can also be ‘My Lord and my God!’
What a twinning!
- Imagine that you are the twin of Jesus. What characteristics do you have in common? How can you keep close to your twin?
- What baffles you about Jesus? What are some aspects of following Jesus that make no sense to you?
- Many of us have been Christians for a long time. Does our familiarity with Jesus make it hard to see him as ‘Lord and God’ and therefore to be filled with awe before him?
Use Thomas’ words ‘My Lord and my God’ as your prayer.