Episode NT34 – Thomas’ Story

Based on John chapter 20 verses 19 to 29

Episode NT34 – Thomas’ Story

‘I was there! I watched Him die! Me! Thomas! One of His so-called disciples!

‘You have no idea what it’s like, to watch all your dreams, all your ambitions, all your hopes being crucified on a rough cross, and then die – right before your eyes! All I wanted, all I ever hoped for – was in that man, Jesus. And now He’s dead!’

‘And what makes it worse is that I believed Him! I was there! I was right with Him when He asked us, His close followers, His disciples. He asked us who everyone was saying He was. And we told Him. Some were saying He was John the Baptist, others were saying He was a great Prophet. But then He asked us, ‘Who do you think I am?’ (P) And Peter told Him. He told Jesus what we all believed with all our hearts, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Saviour, the Son of the Living God.’

‘Why didn’t He tell us there and then that we were wrong? Why did He let us believe it if it wasn’t true? (P) All He told us was, ‘don’t tell anyone else’. But you see I did believe it, with all my heart – I believed that He was the One sent to save us, to rule the world in power. And I hoped that I might have a small role in His Kingdom, to play my part with Him as the eternal KING! But how can it be true? I watched Him die!’

‘I was standing there when the Roman soldiers came and broke the legs of the other two criminals so that they’d die more quickly. I saw them come to Jesus’ body, and seeing that He was already dead, one of them thrust his spear up into Jesus’ side. And when he pulled it out again I saw blood and water gush out.’

‘And I watched those two hypocrites, Joseph and Nicodemus, religious leaders who hadn’t said anything before! Oh, they were so brave now! Going to Pilate to ask for the body – why hadn’t they said something when He was alive? (P) But I guess it was a mercy because now I know He wasn’t who I thought He was. Because if He was, He’d still be alive.’

‘I couldn’t take it any longer as I watched them wrap His body up in a long piece of cloth, and so I ran away. All my dreams had gone to the grave with that man! I ran until I couldn’t run any more, and I wept until I had no more tears in my eyes.’ (PAUSE)

‘I couldn’t face being with anyone – it hurt too much. So I went away to be on my own. For two whole days, I kept away from the other disciples. (P) But then I thought that, as a follower of Jesus, I was a wanted man – and where else could I go?’

‘So I went back to where I knew the other disciples would be hiding. They’d be feeling as terrified as I was. Always hiding, constantly watching over your shoulder, hoping that those footsteps aren’t the footsteps of a Roman soldier coming to arrest and execute you!’

‘When I arrived at the house, it took me ages just to find the courage to give the secret knock. (P) I so didn’t want to be there, but where else could I go? Who else could understand the pain I felt inside?’

‘As I stood in the darkness, trying to build up my courage, I made a resolution. I wasn’t going to be fooled again! Not now, not ever! I’d believed He was everything, and then I’d watched Him die, and seen He was nothing. It wasn’t going to happen again! Jesus was dead, end of story!’

‘But as soon as I knocked, the door swung open and Peter grabbed my arms and pulled me inside. Something was wrong! Why didn’t he look sad? And then, he gave me a great big hug! I looked at his face in astonishment; he had the biggest smile I’d ever seen! I couldn’t believe my eyes! And then he said, ‘Isn’t God amazing Thomas?’’

‘Was he mad? How could Jesus’ death be amazing? When he saw the expression on my face, he looked closely at my swollen red eyes. ‘You haven’t heard, have you Thomas?’ he asked.’

‘‘Heard what?’ I replied angrily. ‘That you’ve lost your brain? I knew that years ago!’’

‘And then he laughed, he actually laughed. How could he laugh? ‘What?’ I shouted! ‘What haven’t I heard?’’

‘‘Thomas,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’’

‘‘What’re you talking about?’ I asked, ‘Who’s alive?’’

‘‘Jesus, He’s alive Thomas, we’ve all seen Him!’’

‘‘You’re mad!’ I shouted, ‘I saw His body cold and lifeless on that cross. I saw them stick a spear in His side. I watched them take His dead body down from the cross.’ And then with tears streaming down my face. ‘What kind of cruel trick are you trying to play on me?’’

‘The others were all looking at me, all of them with that same … smile … or whatever, on their faces. And then they were all talking at once! ‘It’s true Thomas! We’ve seen Him Thomas. He came into this very room Thomas. Jesus stood here with US Thomas. God’s raised Him back to life Thomas.’’

‘‘Shut up! Shut up! Shut up all of you! He’s dead, don’t you understand. Dead bodies don’t come back to life. You’re all mad!’’

‘Somehow they really believed that God had raised Jesus back to life and that He’d appeared to them in that very room, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ And shown them His hands and His side!’

‘But I wasn’t going to be taken in, not again. That man had already shattered my heart. I’d thought He was the Saviour of the World, but then He’d died the death of a criminal. No, I wasn’t going to be taken in again! Not now, not by Him, not by anyone!’

‘And so I shouted back at them all. ‘Listen – Unless I see Him standing before me, with the nail marks in His hands, and the spear mark in His side. – And, I can put my own fingers where those nails went, and I can put my fist in that hold left by the spear – I WILL NOT BELIEVE IT!’ And then I ran out.’ (PAUSE)

‘One of the most uncomfortable weeks of my life followed that day. Jesus was dead and gone, my so-called friends had been taken over by some kind of madness, and I didn’t know what to do!’

‘I tried to keep away from them. But after a week, I had to go back for some reason or other, and there they were, just as full of it as before. (P) When they let me in, they locked the door behind me and started telling me all those lies again. But I wasn’t having any of it … until that is, I – I heard His voice.’

‘When I turned to look, there He was, just as I’d remembered Him. He wasn’t a ghost, He wasn’t a vision, He wasn’t some imagining of my mind. He was real. And the others were smiling so much I thought their faces would burst open! But He was looking at me – this … this … I – I couldn’t get the words out before He started talking to me.’

‘‘Thomas,’ He said again. And then He held out His hands so I could see the marks left by the nails. ‘Put your finger here Thomas.’ And He pointed to the holes in His hands. And – and then He pulled His robe to one side and I saw the hole where the Roman soldier had thrust his spear. ‘Thomas. Reach out your fist, and put it in my side.’ I didn’t move. I didn’t have to, because I knew it was true – He was alive. ‘Stop doubting Thomas,’ He said, ‘and believe.’’

‘But I didn’t doubt. Not when I saw Him, face to face, the same Jesus who I’d known and loved these past three years. And so I did the only thing I could, I fell to my knees and I worshipped Him and said, ‘My Lord and my God.’’ (PAUSE)

‘Then He spoke to me again, ‘You believe because you’ve seen me, Thomas. But there is a greater blessing for those who haven’t seen me and yet believe I’m alive.’’

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