Was It All Just A Farce?
Helen Dowd


 Thomas is not with the other disciples in the upper room on this night of great rejoicing. So devastated by Jesus’ death is he that he has no desire to see anyone, even the other disciples. In fact, he has no more desire to live. He sits all day thinking of all the horrible things that have happened in the past little while. He recalls Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and how joyous an occasion that was. But it seemed from then on everything went downhill for his Lord and his friends and himself.

Was it all just a farce? He sits, head resting on his hands. Suddenly, he aims clenched fists heavenward. "You, Yahweh, You had me fooled." Tears bubble in his eyes as he thinks of his comrade: “How could someone who had spent three long, wonderful years with The Teacher have done such a thing?” His mind floats back to that last supper just before things went so terribly wrong.  He consentrates on Judas and what he had done. Was he right? Had he too thought it all just a charade? Is that what that kiss meant?"

 
"Measure it twice to get it right." He lifts his head, those words of his father banging in his brain: "Test it and test it again." He was back in his childhood. Known by everyone as The Twin, he was walking up and down the beach with his dad--and his twin. Everyone noticed Tobias. He was a clown. But he, The Twin, was too serious. He would walk beside his father, the best boat builder around, inspecting boats in the harbour: "Measure it twice to get it right. Test it."… He wasn't jealous of Toby. He loved him. He was the only one who could make him laugh. Oh how he needed Toby now, to make him laugh.

"How could it have turned out so wrong? Three years following someone whom I loved, for nothing? Was Judas so wrong? Was our mutual Friend a fake?" His heart is filled with anger as he thinks, unreasonably, that if Judas had not sold Christ to the leaders all this would not have happened... "Oh, Yahweh, answer me!"… Was it all a waste of time, tagging after some Guru, watching the healing, putting up with the crowds, hoping for something wonderful to happen? … Well, it didn't! It all ended in tragedy.
 
Poor Thomas! His heart is breaking as he sits all alone, refusing to venture out, even to join the others in a place so dear to them all--The Upper Room.
 
His friends, sad at the thought of Thomas' state of mind--sitting all by himself--decide to pay him a visit....
 
Who's banging on the door?
 
"Go away! I don't want to see anyone." For days Thomas had wept, his dream gone up in smoke—or more rightly, ending in a borrowed tomb.

More banging.
 
"Go away!" He knew who it was, his friends, they'd been there before...His father's voice was pounding in his head again: "Measure it twice to get it right. Test it and test it again."
 
 “Thomas! Thomas! We have some wonderful news. You should have been with us last night. Jesus is no longer dead. He is risen!”

"Leave me alone." Thomas rises momentarily. “You are just saying that to try to cheer me up.” He sits down again.  “I've heard what the women say, but woman are always imagining things.”
 
No! No!” cry his friends. “Jesus really is alive! We have seen Him. Last night while we supped together He appeared to us. He ate with us. Truly, He is alive!  It's not only from Mary Magdalene and the other women, but Peter—well, you know impulsive Peter.  But then John, with the same report. After that, two friends, saying they'd walked with Him, talked with Him--and He'd eaten with them. Then, through locked doors, He appears, right in the room. ‘Peace!’ is all He said. And He ate, right there before our eyes. And we saw His scars. ...Oh Thomas, He IS ALIVE!”

Thomas buries his head in his hands. "You have to see it to believe it! You have to see it to believe it" –His dad's words would not leave his head…

"Unless I see for myself, and put my finger into those scars, I will not believe.”

"No. This is no imagination. Christ IS ALIVE!”
 
Thomas would hear no more.  Emphatically, he asks his friends to leave. But at the door, one of them turns and says, “Will you not at least meet with us, Thomas? Each night we shall be in that upper room. Perhaps Jesus will appear again, and you will be able to see for yourself. Please come, won’t you?”
 
The door closes behind his friends, and Thomas is again by himself. He sinks even further into depression. He swings between hope and despair, despair and hope.  “Oh if it were only true! But it can’t be. It just can’t be.” ...  'You have to see it to believe it!' You have to see it to believe it!'”
 
 
Reluctantly, Thomas accepts the invitation.  Glum, sad, and silent, he sits waiting with his friends in the upper room. Nothing. He knew it couldn't be true! His depression deepens.  People do not rise from the dead. Oh yes, he recalls the resurrection of Lazarus. That was amazing, but it was not the same. He saw Christ's body, lacerated, mutilated and nailed to a cross and taken and laid in the tomb. No. His friends are mistaken. He listened to the others talk enthusiastically about the things that have taken place, but he sits morose and miserable. And as he expects, Christ does not show up.  He saw what they had done to Christ. He saw His body taken from the cross and laid in the tomb. He's not alive! If He was, why hadn't He shown up? Downcast, Thomas leaves.  There was nothing left for him. His life was over. More despondent than ever, he leaves the room, returning to his home. He would not come again.
 
But something draws Thomas to that upper room, night after night. Each night when Christ does not show up, he returns to his place, sinking deeper into depression. “I knew it wasn’t true! I will not come again. This is futile. Each night I come, I go away feeling more sad than I have ever been before. No. Tomorrow I am going to Galilee.”
 
 Night after night, however, Thomas returns, expecting. But—NOTHING! He sinks deeper into depression. “I knew it wasn’t true! I'm not coming again. It's all been just a charade.”
 
“Oh, just one more day, Thomas,” the group all urge. “It is just a week tomorrow when He first appeared to us. That day will always remain sacred to us. And we shall remember on each and every first-day of the week to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Perhaps tomorrow."

Sunday arrives. The disciples gather in the upper room, their faces bright with anticipation. Thomas sits with his head down, glum and despondent.

 The room is filled with light. Suddenly, Thomas' head bolts up. There He was!--the same Jesus he had known; yet He is different: the drawn, white, pain-filled face Thomas had seen at the crucifixion, is now glorious—so radiant that he can scarcely look at Him. So brilliant is the light around His form that it is like what he had witnessed that time Jesus had come down from the mount of transfiguration. Thomas hides his face from the brilliance.
 
Jesus stands for a moment, looking around at the group. Then He turns to Thomas. “Ah, Thomas, My beloved Thomas. Could you not believe that I was alive unless you touched Me? Then, friend, come and touch me. See that it is I. Put your fingers into the nail prints in My hands. Touch my feet. Thrust your hand into the scar on my side. Don’t be so filled with doubt. Believe, Thomas. Oh, believe.”

 Instead of putting his fingers into Christ’s scars, Thomas throws himself at His feet, his face awash with tears. All his doubt is gone. "You have to see it to believe it." How he lamented those words now. It is REAL! It wasn't a CHARADE, after all. At last he believes. “My Lord, and My God!” he exclaims.

Lovingly Christ lays His hand upon the head of the weeping Thomas. “Ah, Thomas, do you believe now that you have seen me? Blessed are those who believe, but have not seen Me in person.”

Thomas leaves the upper room. His heart is light. He is singing. At last he can truly get on with his life, but it will be in a different way from what he had planned. He would serve His living Lord for the remainder of his life. Yes. He would even die for Him if he was called upon to do so.

© Helen Dowd



  

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