In 1926 the British author and playwright A.A Milne introduced us to the 100 Acre Wood and its citizens. The main character was based on a real Canadian black bear that had been a military mascot that was left to the London Zoo. His original name was Edward but Milne renamed him Winnie the Pooh. Winnie had another name that hung over his doorway. Do you remember what it was? I’ll tell you at the end of this article. Pooh was not too bright and his one mission in life was to find, store and eat “hunny” to “fill a rumble in his tumble”. He was sure to do his exercises in the morning and then seek adventures with Christopher Robin and his best friend Piglet, or as Pooh was wont to call him, Pig-a –let. Pooh must have been from Texas, always wanting to add a syllable to any word.
Other inhabitants of this magical land include the no-nonsense Rabbit; and Tigger, the bouncy tiger who insists that he is special because, “I’m the only one!” Owl is called upon by Pooh for life’s countless questions, and dispenses his pearls whether asked or not. The only female in this male dominated world is Kanga who cares for and worries about baby Roo. The master of this world is Christopher Robin who can always be counted on to help his friends out of trouble.
Lastly there is everyone’s favorite, Eeyore. He roams the wood with a nailed-on tail with a bright pink bow attached. His one flaw is that he views life from a very pessimistic point of view. Perhaps that’s why he is a favorite among the readers of the Pooh books.
This brings me to the main subject of this article, the Apostle Thomas. Thomas is named along with Philip, Matthew, Bartholomew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus. His other name is Didymus, which means twin. It is interesting to note that James and Matthew were sons of Alphaeus. It is possible that these three were indeed brothers, one of the others being his twin.
It is from three passages in the gospel of John that we learn his character: slow to believe, always bringing up the difficulties in each case, usually seeing the dark side of every subject, and yet fiercely loyal to Jesus. Sounds a lot like Eeyore doesn’t it?
In Jn 11:16, Jesus announced His determination to go to Jerusalem. The others reminded Him of the danger in this action. Jesus knows He must go. So our friend Thomas says, “Well fellows lets go and die with Him!” Or, “Ok Pooh, what ever you say.”
In chapter 14 of the book of John, Jesus tells them that he is going away to prepare a place for them and that they already are aware of where He is going and how to get there. Thomas, probably voicing the sentiments of the others, says, “Excuse me, Jesus, but we haven’t a clue as to where you are going much less how to get there!”
The rest of that night is written in the minds of all the apostles. Their chance to defend Jesus and “die with Him” is forgotten as they all flee for their lives. The next time we see Thomas is in the upper room. Jesus has risen and has visited the 10 in that room. For whatever reason Thomas was absent from that eventful meeting. Perhaps, being Thomas (or Eeyore) he was so devastated by the death of Jesus that he felt that everything was now over, so what’s the use! Eeyore’s favorite term was, “Oh, well.”
Then it happened! Jesus appeared a second time in a closed room. Thomas was there that time. Jesus merely offered Thomas the chance to do what he wished, place his fingers in His hands and His side. Without doing what he said he wanted to do he was convinced. We lose Thomas to scripture here. Tradition states that he went to India to spread the Gospel, and there met his death.
How about us? The evidence is there in front of us. It starts back in the OT and culminates in the NT. Prophecy-fulfilled evidence placed in front of us. It’s all there and like Thomas we don’t have to put our fingers into the wounded hands or thrust our fists into the gaping hole in His side. All that is left is for us to confess, “My Lord and my God.”
By the way the name written over Pooh’s door…Mr. Sanders.