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.
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?"
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
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.
"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
“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
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
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
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."
arrives. The disciples gather in the upper room, their faces
bright with anticipation. Thomas sits with his head down, glum and
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!”
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
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