2nd Sunday of Easter—Year A—April 27, 2014
Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham
Preached from the perspective of Thomas, the Twin:
Oh hi there, my name is Thomas.
I’ve been having a really tough week.
You see, first my teacher, who I had followed, lived, and learned from the last couple of years was arrested and brutally put to death by the Pilate. Well…actually, the temple leaders had the most to do with it. For a while, I thought I might be put to death to. They really didn’t like Jesus for some reason…even though he was just preaching good Jewish law and love.
To be honest, I’m still a little scared. We all are. That is why we have been hiding out for the last week. Except for when I went out to get some provisions last Sunday evening.
This was of course after “MM,” that is what we call Mary, the from Magdalene, came back from the tomb saying that she had seen Jesus. Must have been wishful thinking, or a hallucination, or something. I know he said a couple times that he was going to die and come back three days later, but he must have meant metaphorically come back, or send us a vision, or something…right?
Anyway, like I said, I drew the short straw last Sunday night and risked my life to get some oil, olives, dates, cheese, wine, and bread. We thought it would be best to lay low for a couple of days, and wait for the authorities to cool off. And then while I’m away, the other disciples claim that Jesus appeared to them too.
I’m used to being treated like a second class citizen, left out, last one picked for teams…I’ve lived my whole life with the nickname “twin,” but does David (my twin brother) get called twin…NO! I’m used to being somewhat on the outside, but this week has been especially bad. Not only am I on the outside of the temple “cool crowd,” but now I’m all alone even in my circle of friends.
Some of them have been trying to make me jealous by continuing to talk about what it was like when Jesus breathed on them. I mean…you’d think if Jesus could really come back from the dead, he would know enough to wait for me to be around to show up. Whatever…I bet his breath stank anyway.
But there are others who refuse to talk about it when I’m around…since I’m obviously not as special as them. Every time I walk in the room, they suddenly stop talking and change the subject to something totally mundane. But I hear them…”Jesus told us we have the power to pronounce forgiveness or retain sins.”
This is not my idea of a funny joke. It is just plain cruel and has gone on for long enough.
I’m fed up. I thought about leaving, but really where would I go?
We have now been locked in this house for a whole week. It is a pretty tight space, not much privacy or personal space, but I have never felt so alone.
Was this is a mass hallucination? Has some spirit infected them?…you know MM had seven when we first met her up north.
Or did Jesus really appear to all of them, bless them with peace, and leave me here, hanging?
Did I really do something so much worse than the others? We all pretty much abandoned him in his time of need, but he wouldn’t have wanted all of us to die too…right? I know I have coveted from time to time. And I guess I kind of asked Jesus a lot of questions; maybe he thinks I’m too annoying. And there was that time I got so angry at David that I wished that he would fall in a ditch and die…but haven’t we all?
Is this my punishment for my sins?
Does God love me less?
They supposedly got to see proof, touch Jesus’ wounds. Where is my chance? Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.
Am I doomed to loneliness, isolation, and torture for the rest of my days? I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
Jesus appears to the disciples a second time—including Thomas
Wait! What is that noise?
Is that…couldn’t be…but is it…Jesus?
Did he just say “Peace be with you?”
He is talking to me “put your finger here and see my hands.” He must have heard what I said to the others.
“Reach out your hand and put it in my side.” Look the wound is still fresh…you can see the blood residue. “Do not doubt but believe.”
I don’t think this is the finale of some practical joke. Could it really be him? It has to be. No one else calls my name that way. I feel that same comfort and calm that I have always felt around Jesus…the same power. It is! My Lord and my God!!!
He was telling the truth. He died and three days later rose from the dead! He truly is the Son of God. I did not think that it was possible, but I have to remember…for God, all things are possible!
He asked me if I believed because I saw, and yeah, sure, that helped, but I think it was more the feeling than the visual…the sound of him calling my name than the look of his face…that warmth and light that can penetrate my darkest mood, the strongest sense of loneliness, and endless questioning.
I was so afraid of being let down. I was so afraid to get my hopes up. But I know that my Redeemer lives!
I know that each of us sees Jesus and comes to believe in a different way. MM believed what the angel said. The disciples got to see Jesus wounds and be filled with Spirit. Others might never see him directly. However, we are blessed in one way or another, by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
I will keep telling my story in case it helps someone feel that presence. I know some of my friends are planning on writing down everything they remember about Jesus’ teaching, healings, and miracles. I hope that can be the means through which others come to believe. And I hope you get the assurance, the proof, the experience that you need to believe…whatever that might look like…it might even be when you are at your lowest low, or least expecting it, or only in hindsight—to fully experience all Christ is and has to offer.
For that is the important part. It is not just about making sure each detail is correct, but the point is that the magnificence of Jesus is captured—his caring spirit, calm demeanor, passion for the poor, anger over injustice, and love for the world is the message that endures.
For that is what the events of last week are really about. God loves God’s creation—humanity, especially—so much, that Jesus endured torture, crucifixion, the tomb, and resurrection, so we might have eternal, abundance, ever-lasting life.
My Lord and my God…how awesome is that? Amen!