Thomas: drawn by Emma Rundell
Of all of his followers, I suppose I was the most literal-minded, which was a bit of an issue between me and him, I suppose. He always spoke in metaphors and images and loved to compare the things of God to things we could get a grasp on. I suppose it was my architect’s mind at work here – you can’t build buildings on metaphors, they quickly crumble and fall.
Well, my commitments had taken me away from the rest of the group that day, I needed to get over the blow of his terrible loss to us, and as we all deal with grief in different ways, I threw myself into work, as many do. So when I returned to the community that night they were buzzing with excitement: the stories were true, and he was alive! They had seen him in this very room, and he had appeared to them.
Yeah, right, was my response. Delusion, that is what I thought. Yes, Jesus was amazing, yes I saw some amazing things, miracles possibly, but back from the dead? No, surely not. My brothers and sisters were most adamant that they had actually seen him. Listen, I’m not going to believe it unless I see it for myself. Unless I can place my fingers into the holes in his hands, put my hand into that wound in his side, I’m not going to believe. Like many, I need proof!
So, it was about a week later when we were all together, redoing what he told us to, sharing bread and wine to bring him into our presence, and then he was … really was!
The doors were locked, and he didn’t sneak in, but this was no ghost. I don’t know how he got in, because we had locked all the doors, but standing in front of me was the very man I’d denied earlier in the week. ‘Come,’ he gently said to me, and he grasped my hand, leading it to his side. And I did. I put my hand into that sacred wound: I did something that if I pause to think about it was quite disgusting, but at the time seemed so special, so significant, so intimate; as though he wanted me to become linked with him. I examined the holes those nails made in his hands, saw the damage on his brow made by that cruel crown of thorns. It was real.
All I could do was fall to my feet before him, in awe, in adoration, in worship, because for the first time, after these three years of following him, after all the things I’d witnessed, only now did the reality finally dawn on me …
‘My Lord, and my God,’ I exclaimed. It was all I could say. It was the truth. ‘Tom, you are blessed because you have finally seen what was in front of you, but there will be even greater blessings for those who believe without seeing.’
It’s true, not everyone will get to see what I have seen, not everyone will get to experience Jesus in such an up-close and personal way, and yet this story is far too important for us to keep to ourselves. I need to tell others, to get John to write it down for me, and to ensure others don’t fall into the same cynical trap I fell into: first-hand experience is good, but it doesn’t mean that the truth, the real truth, isn’t also out there, just beyond our senses; and God’s truth often goes beyond those senses. Blessed are those who believe without seeing … do you believe?