Setting: A garden.
Speaker: A disciple.
Time: About two thousand years ago…
"He is risen.
He is risen indeed."
Today I sit in astonishment at the entrance to an empty tomb. I've been here for a couple of hours, ever since Mary came rushing into the room where we were hiding. She had the most preposterous story! Jesus' body was gone – vanished! These were the very words she shouted – at least after she was able to catch her breath…
Peter and John ran to the tomb. They didn’t come back.
So, I decided to check things out for myself. Hey, they don't call me "Doubting Thomas" for nothing, you know!
She was right – Jesus' body isn’t here. I’m puzzled…confused…scared.
It was just the other day that we were celebrating the Passover meal with Him. We met in quite a large room – it was already set up!
Jesus was rather quiet. And He said some disturbing things.
He said one of us would betray Him.
Yes, it's true – Judas did sell him out. But, we all betrayed Him in our own way. We all ran when He needed us the most. And when He was crucified, I was hiding.
Like the coward that I am.
But, the strangest thing of all that He said was this (Today’s "Bible Pick 'Ems"):
"As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it into pieces and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take it, for this is my body.' And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, 'This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.'" (Mark 14:22-24)
I've been puzzling over these words ever since.
And now I'm sitting here trying to figure the whole thing out –
Eight days later…
OK, I thought I was confused before – now I really am! Now all my friends claim they have seen Jesus – alive, and in the flesh.
I told them, "I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side."
They were terribly frustrated with me – accused me of having no faith. They're probably right. But, I want to have faith – I want to believe. It just all seems so impossible.
So now we're gathered together again. They're excited. I’m forlorn. Oh, would that it was true!! Dare I even hope???
"Peace be with you."
I look up. Is it Him??? It's HIM!!!
I'm suddenly overcome with fear and awe and joy – all at the same time. I fall to my face on the ground.
Then He turns to me.
"Thomas, put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand into the wound in My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!"
And I do.
"My Lord and my God!" I exclaim.
Today is Easter Sunday, dear friends. It is a day of joyous celebration. Today our precious Jesus rose from the dead. Having completed His purpose on this earth, having sacrificed His life for us, having borne all the sins of the world on His bloodied shoulders – He now rose in triumph from the grave!!
He defeated sin – He defeated death. He defeated our enemy.
IT. IS. FINISHED.
"Do this in remembrance of Me."
Oh Lord, we will remember You today – and we will remember You every day.
We will never forget You, or what You did for us.
For You remember us…
"See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49:16)
"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand."
"When in doubt, search God out!"