Photo Jovon Grossi

Labels


“What words would your friends use to describe you?” This question often appears on college entrance essays and job interviews. While the inquiry may be intended to allow the candidate to speak freely without fear of boasting, the question reveals the power that is often given to other people’s opinions. The labels that others stick on us from the time of our birth go a long way in defining who we understand ourselves to be. One person whose label often accompanies his name is the Apostle Thomas—infamously known as “doubting Thomas.”


In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus does not define Thomas by this label. Instead, Jesus lifts up Thomas for his answer to Jesus’s inquiry, “Compare and tell me whom I resemble.” Thomas refuses to limit Jesus to label and says, “Teacher, my mouth will not permit me to say whom you resemble” (Logion 13, A New New Testament). For this answer, Jesus says that he is no longer Thomas’s teacher for they have both drunk from the same bubbling source. By refusing to limit one another, they are both able to claim their common identity as children of God. In this season where people are disparaged from the halls of power to the shadows of the Internet, it is most important to remember the identity that the world cannot give or take away. Being a child of God is indeed the birthright of us all.


~John Rogers



“What words would your friends use to describe you?” This question often appears on college entrance essays and job interviews. While the inquiry may be intended to allow the candidate to speak freely without fear of boasting, the question reveals the power that is often given to other people’s opinions. The labels that others stick on us from the time of our birth go a long way in defining who we understand ourselves to be. One person whose label often accompanies his name is the Apostle Thomas—infamously known as “doubting Thomas.”


In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus does not define Thomas by this label. Instead, Jesus lifts up Thomas for his answer to Jesus’s inquiry, “Compare and tell me whom I resemble.” Thomas refuses to limit Jesus to label and says, “Teacher, my mouth will not permit me to say whom you resemble” (Logion 13, A New New Testament). For this answer, Jesus says that he is no longer Thomas’s teacher for they have both drunk from the same bubbling source. By refusing to limit one another, they are both able to claim their common identity as children of God. In this season where people are disparaged from the halls of power to the shadows of the Internet, it is most important to remember the identity that the world cannot give or take away. Being a child of God is indeed the birthright of us all.


~John Rogers

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