I failed! We all did. Jesus said we would desert Him in His darkest hour, and we did just that. I was so distraught with fear and sorrow when Pilate sentenced Him to death that I couldn’t bear to be there any longer. How could these people who were cheering for Jesus only a week ago, now be calling for Him to be crucified? Why didn’t they understand that this man was the Messiah? Why didn’t we, who were His disciples, understand what that really meant? Jesus told us that all of these things were going to happen, and we didn’t listen to Him. He revealed to us that He would be killed and that on the third day, He would rise from the dead, but His words made no sense to us. We didn’t yet understand that it was His death and resurrection that would save us all and restore us to a right relationship with God in heaven. I didn’t understand. In my shame, I had abandoned my Master as He was about to be tortured and killed.
Maybe four or five days had passed when John and the others found me and said that Jesus was alive. It made me angry that they would be so callous to say something so cruel to me, and so I lashed out at them and shouted, “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.” I had completely forgotten that Jesus had promised to come back. I shooed the other disciples away, and almost immediately after doing so, I regretted it. These were my brothers, after all. They wouldn’t lie, but I thought maybe they were just mistaken in their grief. Boy, was I wrong!
A few days later, I met up with the other disciples on Mount Tabor so that I could apologize for my anger toward them. They were gracious with me but were still trying to convince me that they had seen Jesus alive and in person. I felt sorry for them at the time because I believed their grief had taken them to this point of delusion. But then, as I was speaking, I heard a familiar, deep baritone voice behind me. “Peace be with you,” He said. As I turned around, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Jesus was standing right there in front of me. Where did He come from? The door was locked. How is He even alive? I wasn’t sure it was really Him at first, but how could I deny what I was seeing with my own eyes? Why didn’t I believe Him when Jesus said He would return? Why didn’t I remember? As I stood there frozen in place, all I could do was stare in bewilderment.
When He spoke my name, I just melted inside: “Thomas, put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side.” I remember His words so clearly, but I don’t remember if I reached out to touch His wounds or not. “Don’t be faithless any longer.” He said, “Believe!” I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, and after a bit, I tried to speak, but all I could muster was, “My Lord and my God!” My knees buckled; I fell to the ground and bawled my eyes out. After there were no more tears and we had all settled down, Jesus looked right at me, and said, “You believe because you have seen me, but blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
There was no more doubt in my mind from that moment on; I was overcome with everlasting joy. My eyes had been opened, and I could finally see that this man before me was indeed the Messiah who came to offer salvation to the whole world; that we twelve were to be the foundation for which He would build His church. And so I have come here to the Malabar Coast to share my testimony with all of you and pass on the teachings of my Lord and my God, Jesus Christ, so that you also—as my dear friend John says—can receive “the right to become children of God.”