Day 3 after he died
Day 1 of a new creation
That’s right—I’ve started the count over, again. Three days ago, I thought it was the end of the world—I thought I would count the rest of my life from that day—the day Jesus died, but today I’m starting over. Today will always be Day 1 of the rest of my life, because the impossible happened! Jesus is back! Jesus appeared to us in the upper room, in the flesh. We touched him. He spoke to us and ate with us! This is not only Day 1 of the rest of my life, it is the day the whole world changed.
We’re all still jittery from last night—it’s so hard to believe. But the hardest part is that Thomas missed it. He joined us this morning, and we told him how Jesus came and met us last night, and he just… he just can’t believe it, I guess. We really want him to celebrate with us—and we want to include him, because, honestly, Jesus’ apparent resurrection is all we’re talking about today, but Thomas can’t, or won’t, or something. He seems a little upset.
Day 3 after Jesus came back
So…it’s been a couple days, now, and we haven’t seen him again, yet. We’re still hoping. Still looking for him around every corner. It would be really nice if Jesus showed up, because Thomas still doesn’t believe us, and we really want him to! Today we kind of overwhelmed him, I think. I think what we were trying to tell him still makes sense—it’s not like he has to believe one person who might be hysterical with grief—we were all there. We all saw him. Can’t he believe us when we all saw the same thing? I think we kind of ganged up on him, trying to convince him to trust us, and he lashed out. He got angry and said that the only way he would believe is if he can put his finger in the holes in Jesus’ hands. Then he disappeared for a while. I guess I can’t really blame him.
Day 4 of trying to convince Thomas that we’re not crazy.
Gosh, I just really wish Thomas could understand that this is real! It’s exhausting trying to think of new ways to tell the story so that maybe he’ll get it this time. Everyone has taken a turn. After yesterday, we decided approaching him one-on-one was best, but I’m not sure it was any better. He stormed off again, this time saying that he didn’t want to hang around us if all we did was try to convince him we were right and he was wrong. Ouch. I mean, that’s not what we were trying to do. We just want him to be able to be happy with us. We remember what it was like thinking that Jesus was dead, and we don’t want him to be stuck there. But I guess we have been coming on kind of strong. It’s just that he matters to us! We want him to believe! We want him to trust us! We want to share this awesome experience with him! Is that really so wrong?
Day 5 of project-convert-Thomas-to-the-truth-about-Jesus
Okay, so maybe we’ve become a tad obsessed. Admittedly, things did get out of hand today. To be fair, it has been 5 days since Jesus appeared to us—that’s longer than the three days we grieved before he appeared, so, maybe we’re getting a little antsy, or a little paranoid, or a little defensive. I don’t know. Those aren’t really good excuses for how we treated Thomas. It’s just that some of the disciples have been starting to wonder whether they really saw Jesus, after all. I mean, we were all there! We all saw him! How can they doubt that? It would mean we are all crazy! And we’re not! We’re not crazy. I’m not crazy! But maybe I’m a little bit defensive.
Anyway, when these other disciples began questioning Jesus’ appearance—started going back over the story, wondering whether they saw wrong, or heard wrong, or understood wrong—well, murmurs started floating around that it was all Thomas’ fault. He was planting seeds of doubt. If he was on-board, then these other disciples wouldn’t be straying from Jesus. It kind of made sense. I could see the logic, anyway.
But then Thomas caught wind of the rumors, and I expected him to storm out again, but he didn’t. He just sighed, and looked so hurt. So betrayed. He mumbled something that sounded like, “I loved him, too, you know….” Now I can’t sleep. I don’t know what to do.
Day 6 after Jesus appeared.
Things are kind of mellow, today. Quiet. We seem to be spending time to ourselves. When we prayed together, more than one person prayed that God would help Thomas believe that Jesus is really risen. I saw a kind of sour look on Thomas’ face during those prayers, but he didn’t leave, so, I guess that’s something.
Day 568 of following Jesus
Day 7 after he appeared to us
I think I need to just let go of the whole Thomas thing. I mean, I still care, but maybe it’s because I care about him that I need to let go of this whole convincing him about Jesus thing.
We’ve been talking a lot about the last few months of following Jesus—rehashing the stories and stuff, and you know what we realized? We didn’t get it at all. Jesus was telling us about his death—he knew it was coming, and he was trying to prepare us—and he may have even been preparing us for his resurrection, too—that whole rebuilding the temple in three days, thing…he was talking about it all along, and we just didn’t get it! We didn’t understand, or we didn’t believe. It explains why Jesus seemed so frustrated during those last few weeks. But he didn’t treat us the way we’ve been treating Thomas. He kept loving us. He was so gentle and tender, really—and then he stunned us by washing our feet that last night.
Yeah, if I’m serious about this whole following Jesus thing, I think I need to be a better friend to Thomas, and that probably means dropping this whole “you’ve got to get on the band-wagon” deal, and letting him know that I care about him no matter what—whether he ever believes our story or not. That’s how Jesus treated us, and that’s kind of what Jesus kept talking to us about during the last few days we had with him.
He didn’t say that we’d prove to the world that we good disciples by convincing everyone that we’re right. No, he said the world would know that we were his disciples by the love we have for one another. So, I apologized to Thomas today. He still seems a little stand-offish, but I can’t blame him. We have kind of been treating him more like a project than like a person, lately.
Day 569 of following Jesus
Day 8 after Jesus’ first resurrection appearance.
That’s right, I said first, because today he appeared again! It was just like last time, except Thomas was with us. I was so glad! And it was as if Jesus had been with us all along, because he seemed to know exactly what Thomas said—he offered his hands to Thomas and said, “Here, put your fingers in the holes.” But Thomas didn’t need to do that, after all. Seeing Jesus was more than enough. In fact, he burst out with an exclamation that took us all by surprise. He called Jesus, “My Lord, and my God.”And Jesus didn’t correct him, or tell him he was being blasphemous, or anything. It was stunning, and we all started looking at Jesus a little differently—with a little bit more awe, if that’s even possible.
And then Jesus came out with another one of his cryptic lines, “Do you believe because you have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
And here’s what’s cryptic about it—we’ve been talking about it all night. Was Jesus talking about believing that he was resurrected? Or was he talking about believing what Thomas called him—believing that Jesus is somehow one and the same as God—the great, mysterious God of Abraham and Sarah—the God of covenants and blessings and creation, itself? Because if that’s what he meant, then I’m not entirely sure I believe it, yet. And how does one see that, anyway? It kind of feels like the tables have been turned—like Thomas has been let in on a secret that we still don’t quite get. Maybe that’s fair.
And Jesus’ comment got me thinking about other stuff, too. About how we’re going to tell other people about this whole deal. I mean, Jesus’ story is not really something we can keep to ourselves—it defines us so much—it’s going to shape the whole rest of my life. I can’t not tell people about him. But, as our week with Thomas has shown, this is not a story that is easy to swallow. I can’t know how people will react to hearing about it. They might write me off, or they might believe me—I can’t really control that. What I can control is how I act and how I treat people—including the people who just can’t believe what I’m telling them.
Because this is crazy stuff, after all. Resurrection, and a person who might also be God… I know I’d write it off, too, if I hadn’t seen Jesus with my own eyes—seen him care for people and heal them and love them—if I hadn’t seen Jesus love me through my own seasons of doubt and disbelief. So, I think that’s all I can do, really—tell people what I know and keep living like Jesus—loving people like he did—like he does, I guess. So here we go—Day 8 of the rest of our lives, with Thomas leading the charge!