Read His Words Before Ours!
“Thomas, we saw Him!”
“Jesus was here.”
“He just appeared!”
“…His hands and side.”
“We’ve seen the Lord!”
I looked from man to man, closing the door behind me.
What had I missed while out walking in the darkness?
Peter gestured with an intensity typically displayed when trying to clear a path for Jesus in a crowd, or when his favorite meal was placed before him. Passion was not something he lacked.
Luke responded with the focus of a doctor, describing Jesus’ wounds.
James and John spoke with animated gestures belying the fact they were related.
Regardless of their excited reactions, all of them relayed one thing: they had seen Jesus.
The crucified Jesus was alive?
And everyone, but me, had seen Him?
How could that be?
These brothers of mine have played practical jokes on me before…
Telling me the new type of knot used to create the net would hold my weight.
It’s a good thing Luke is a doctor!
Or the time we all agreed to meet at a certain spot in the marketplace while they all met somewhere else to see how long it would take me to find them.
Half an hour, thank you very much.
Surely, they wouldn’t joke about Jesus, would they?
My eyes threatened to fill with tears as the emotions of loss of my Savior, combined with hurt at being left out of seeing Jesus, and perhaps the root, arrogant pride as I distanced myself by throwing up walls.
“If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
I moved past them quickly working to control my emotions.
The room felt smaller by the second as they bantered on about “Jesus’ appearance”.
I slept fitfully that night, my eyes staring above me, mind whirling at the thought of Jesus being alive. Possibly.
How? He had been nailed to the cross and breathed His last.
No, it wasn’t possible!
However, Mary had come running to us yesterday morning, saying she’d encountered the Lord. No one discounted her completely, but I’m not sure any of us wholeheartedly believed her either.
We’d walked with Jesus so closely.
Why would He first reveal Himself to a woman instead?
No, it simply can not be…could it?
Now my brothers were saying the same thing.
Everyone had seen Jesus….but me.
I tossed again, frustrated at my insomnia and the endless war in my head.
Why was I left out?
They’d said they were behind closed, locked doors when Jesus just appeared in their midst.
So, He’d risen from the dead and didn’t need doors?
This was too much. And I vehemently turned over, deciding to leave the matter alone.
But the war inside wouldn’t be silent.
If He had supernatural ability to move around, why wouldn’t He wait when we were all together? He knew how much I loved Him!
When Lazarus died and we were weighing the pros and cons of going to Bethany, wasn’t I the one that said we would go with Him, despite the logical side that said we would surely be killed or arrested? I was right, Jesus’ death was indeed waiting in Jerusalem.
Logic and emotion….I’ve battled these my whole life.
How do I embrace that?
I want to believe, I do!
How do I accept what I cannot experience?
My emotion wants more than anything to believe, but I simply cannot.
I must have proof; I must.
I think the guys could tell I hadn’t slept well, nor did I appreciate the joy they exuded every time they talked about Jesus’ miraculous appearance. I wanted to believe, but it hurt too much to acknowledge the rejection caused by the timing of His visit, and deeper still, the constant, forced acknowledgment that I could not believe “their word” as my inner battle raged on.
A week later, wearied and worn from my inner turmoil, I knew I couldn’t carry on like this. I would need to either decide to believe my brothers that Jesus was alive, or I would need to walk away from them, shutting off everything that had happened in the last 3 years of our lives together. I couldn’t do this anymore….the war inside had to end; I was too tired. I was at my end.
And at that moment, when I seemed most hopeless, Jesus once again ignored locked doors and arrived in our midst.
“Peace be with you”, and my head jerked up with shock, and instant grief gripped me, as I knew I had ignored the truth that had been right in front of me these past 8 days.
The sense of peace that blanketed the room felt gloriously weighted.
Jesus turned to me, eyes gentle, knowing my unbelief, meeting me where I was with total acceptance, He invited, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.”
I reached out and with trembling hands felt the wounds.
Warm flesh met my finger tips. Jesus was alive!
“My Lord and my God!”, I exclaimed!
“Because you have seen Me, have you believed?
Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Hours later I laid staring at the ceiling again, pondering Jesus’ words.
I believed because I touched Him, but He said, blessed are those who believed without seeing.
Suddenly, it came together.
I had been seeing all along….I saw the truth in the faces of my brothers.
I heard it in their constant testimony.
I ignored it when I heard truth from Mary.
His evidence was there; it was my pride to shun it.
I would have saved myself much misery this past week if I had just believed the truth in front of me. I knew it had taken more energy to doubt than to believe.
Yet, He loved me enough to meet me where I was.
Just as He has always done.
And with that, I drifted off into the first solid night’s sleep in some time.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!