All eleven disciples were gathered together in a small room. They had been in hiding now for a week, in complete reliance upon the women who provided for them, as only one or two of them could sneak out at any one time. Fear had gripped them when their Master was crucified, and, although they had seen him risen, they knew the authorities would take any one of them into custody if they were discovered.
In this scene we find Thomas, his head in his hands, piecing together everything that had just happened. His fellow disciples all claimed that they had seen Jesus alive after his crucifixion, but how could such a thing even be? Yes he had seen Jesus raise people from the dead, but he had been crucified! The Messiah was not supposed to be crucified. There was nothing in their scriptures referring to a dead messiah, but there was a reference to “he who is cursed who hangs on a tree.” Such a thing could not be possible, and he refused to believe it. It’s true, faith had never come easy for Thomas. He hadn’t actually been looking for any Messiah in particular. Yes he wanted to do away with the Romans, but he figured Israel would have to pull that off on their own. However, when Jesus called him to follow, he felt compelled to, almost like he couldn’t help but follow. Maybe there was something to this Messiah thing and Jesus was it. He saw the miracles, and heard the teachings. Still, he had a hard time comprehending it all. He tried to wrap his mind around everything, but could never quite make sense of it all.
So when Jesus was put to death, any reference point for understanding what was going on was shred to pieces. It was beyond devastating. He had given up everything to follow a charlatan. He was determined he would never be caught a fool again. His fellow disciples claimed that Jesus had appeared to them while Thomas had been out getting food, but he wasn’t going to buy it. Unless Jesus was standing there before him and he could place his hands on the wounds to his hands and feet and side, he would not believe it. People, don’t just come back from the dead. Whatever the miracles that had come before, they must have been a charade.
At an instant, the room became different. What at once seemed like a blinding light, went away as fast as it appeared, and there was Jesus. But how? The doors were locked! There was no way he could have gotten in. This had to be a trick, but there he was all the same. Jesus spoke. “Peace be with you,” he said with a most gentle voice. Turning to Thomas, he said, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” A million things raced through Thomas’s mind as he stood there, looking at Jesus. At once he knew that all his doubts, all his attempts to comprehend Jesus, were for nothing. Jesus wasn’t a puzzle to be solved, but a person to trust in. Oh Jesus was a paradox, but he realized he could believe the paradox. This was faith he realized for the first time in his life, and he responded the only way he knew how. He bowed down, and said “My Lord and my God!”