If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all,
Gloom, despair & agony on me.
These lyrics of a song from the old television show, Hee Haw*, seems to capture the spirit of my favorite disciple, Thomas. With his Eeyore-like* demeanor, Thomas always seemed to be view events & conversations through a rather pessimistic lens.
*Hee Haw was a country themed television show aimed at the demographics that Laugh-In & Lawrence Welk missed. Eeyore is the small gray donkey from the children’s book, “Winnie the Pooh.” That should just about wrap up the cultural trivia for the day. – Editor
Consider when Jesus said He must go to Jerusalem, Thomas replied, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” (John 11:16) Thomas was probably the only disciple not shocked by the events of Good Friday. Deeply saddened? Yes. Surprised? No. Interestingly, even though Thomas viewed the Jerusalem excursion with doom, he still went. Sometimes pessimists are the bravest of all souls.
Then we have today’s scene. Thomas slips out of the stuffy, tension-filled room for a coffee run (or what have you) & this is when Jesus reappears? His initial reaction was probably, “Typical. Just my luck that I’m out during the greatest miracle of my life.” Seeing & hearing the others excitedly chatting about this miraculous reappearance, Thomas was probably bewildered. Could it really be true? Is He really resurrected? Thomas, though, is reluctant to get his hopes up. If his friends are wrong, he couldn’t possibly face the crushing disappointment. So, Thomas issues his belligerent test.
Let’s walk through this scene to see what we can pick up. The week between the 2 appearances of Christ must have been excruciating for Thomas. His friends are filled with joy & peace, while Thomas is grimly stuck in his world of disbelief & gloom. Perhaps we allow ourselves to be stuck in similar straits. Perhaps we let ourselves get sidetracked with questions or doubts that rob us of the joy Christ promises us.
Now, Thomas is still around the next Sunday. He could have just bolted & returned home. Yet, he was still eager to learn the truth & was open to being proven wrong. Sometimes our faith walk, like Thomas, requires us to simply “show up” on Sundays & be open to learning the truth.
When Jesus does return, Thomas doesn’t need to re-issue his test. Jesus already knew his doubts & fears. Jesus willingly humbles Himself to Thomas to help him believe. Christ knows our hearts & knows just what we need. Perhaps we should just be still & listen.
Then we have Thomas’ beautiful reaction. There is no reluctance or hesitation in Thomas. He declares that Jesus is his Lord! Oh, to be able to see Thomas’ face as he reaches this realization! In my mind’s eye, I see a face glowing with joy & contentment & peace, ala Moses after His encounter with God.
Thomas, legend says, spread the Good News of Christ to India. Thanks to a Sunday surrounded by fellow believers, Thomas came to believe. While Thomas’ nature probably didn’t change, his life was no longer characterized by gloom & despair. His life was now a life of hope & love.