by Joyce Marshall
Behold the good news! Jesus is our Messiah! He has risen from the dead. He is alive and with us today!
I'm surprised you didn't. I know you were thinking, "Wait a minute this is Thomas. The doubter. The cynic." There was a time that description would have been true, but no more.
Looking back at all of Jesus' teachings combined with the prophecies of the Old testament I supposed the truth should have been obvious, but when a person witnesses something as horrific as the crucifixion, it becomes impossible to believe that anything positive can be waiting in the future.
When I along with the other disciples witnessed the death of Jesus, we thought we were witnessing the death of all of our hopes and dreams. The death of our future.
In the midst of the fear despair and grief we were all feeling there was a part of me who was actually surprised. The idea of the messiah being born in my life time and then choosing me to be one of his disciples was obviously too good to be true. Too grand to even wish for. Yet Jesus somehow roped me in. He had me - cautious, sensible Thomas believing the impossible. And then it seemed all to be over. Seeing the Roman soldiers carry out the crucifixion amidst cheering crowds made me forget about all of Jesus? teachings and all of the miracles I witnessed Jesus perform. I felt foolish, as if I allowed myself to believe this outrageous fantasy was true just because I so desperately wanted it to be so. Seeing Jesus die convinced me that the dream was over and that I needed to accept my lot in life. A Jew living under the oppressive rule of the Roman Empire. No fantasies, no elaborate hope for the future. Life was what it was.
Then just as I began to come to terms with my lot in life, the other disciples began to tell me that Jesus is Alive! He has risen from the dead! They all seemed to sure, that it was true. But then I thought about all the other times we were certain we were witnessing great miracles when we were with Jesus , and how that certainty did not prevent us from hiding in terror as they took Jesus off to be killed.
If the crucifixion taught me one lesson it was that shattered hope was far more hurtful than no hope at all. So when others came to me with news of the resurrection, I could not bring my self to believe it. What if the other disciples were wrong? What if their desire for Jesus to be alive convinced them that something was true even if it wasn't? I was not about to set my hopes on anything that could ever let me down again. So I stubbornly refused. I stated over and over again that I would not even consider the resurrection a possibility unless I can actually see Jesus for myself and touch the very wounds he suffered while being crucified.
Jesus could have refused my request. The things I had witnessed Jesus do combined with all of the teachings I personally received from him, should have been enough. Jesus could have told me that I if still needed additional proof than I was a lost cause and someone unworthy to be his disciple. But he didn't. Jesus understood how hard it was for me to process all that had happened and he knew I was earnestly seeking the truth. So Jesus met me where I was. He appeared to me, let me touch his wounds and called me blessed.
And now I stand before you today proclaiming the good news of Christ's love. This is a message that not everyone will want to hear. Some will kill in order to stop this message. But the moment of meeting Christ face to face after he had risen from the dead has made me strong enough to bear any persecution I may face. Jesus has risen from the dead. He is our Messiah and God. These are facts that I will never again doubt.