We have three references of Thomas speaking, all in St. John’s gospel. In John 11:16.
“Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him’”.
I have a feeling that Thomas was intensely observing and listening to everything Jesus did and said. In the above instance he realized that the disciples could not persuade Jesus against going to Jerusalem, where his enemies were waiting for his blood. Thomas didn’t want Jesus to go alone and so invites the others to go with him, and if need be, even die with him.
Thomas’ commitment to Jesus was already so total as to be ready to die with him. He continued his contemplation of and listening to Jesus, and after the supper he realized that Jesus was going off for certain. He wouldn’t let him go alone. He wanted to know the place and the way where Jesus was going. In John 14:4-6, Thomas said to him,
“Lord we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth and the life.
“No one comes to the Father except through me”.
This revelation of Jesus, himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life was prompted by Thomas who understood it better than anyone else because of his intense listening and observation of Jesus.
Along with the other disciples Thomas also was frightened and confused and mystified at the arrest. He sensed the danger to Jesus and eventually to themselves. Perhaps he didn’t like to follow the crowd and witness to what was happening to Jesus as Peter and John did. Maybe he couldn’t muster enough courage and it was also too hard for him to witness. He was also inconsolable and so didn’t want to be in company. He wandered as a loner, still pondering on the words of Jesus and wanting to be united with him.
Finally when he returned to the fold of the disciples he gets the news of Jesus living. His obstinacy was for being united with Jesus. Hence the scene after the resurrection in John 20:27-28, Then Jesus said to Thomas
“Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”
In the spontaneous confession of Thomas,
“My Lord and my God”,
the words of the true mystic comes out, who through silence and prayer finally discovered the truth about Jesus as his Lord and his God. Only a true mystic could have arrived at this depth of experience of Jesus as own God and Lord, a very personal and intense experience