The Thomas Doubt Affair: Day Seven
“OK, so where is Jesus?”
It is the 7th day (counting Resurrection Sunday) since Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to Mary Magdalene, Peter and all of the disciples… except Thomas.
Now a strange tension must have developed that we 21st Century readers of the gospels do not experience. Jesus might have told his disciples to stick around Jerusalem saying he’ll be back next Sunday but we have no evidence that he did. If not then by Saturday I am sure the disciples are being challenged more and more about the first appearances. The question would be… OK if Jesus showed up last Sunday where is he now?
And who would ask that question more than anyone else? Thomas of course. In his mind his case might be getting stronger. “OK, so where is Jesus?” he would certainly ask. I’m sure he had gone through some serious doubts, anxiety, anger and frustration that he was the only one that missed out. And he might have even gone through a moment or two of regret for his almost thoughtlessly issuing his belligerent challenge.
I remember when my boys were young and we had two or three big “Where’s Waldo?” books. The idea was to look through each large page covered with miniscule men, women and animals in a plethora of confusing outfits and pick out Waldo. Where was Waldo? We would spend an unending amount time until finally a Waldo sighting occurred. A cheer would rise up in triumph each time it happened. But we as parents at least knew there was at least one Waldo on each page. Not so for our band of disciples… at least when it came to seeing Jesus again.
So with confusion growing inside the circle of disciples, outside of their group explanations had been created for the empty tomb,
11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
I doubt that Thomas gave them much heed. The other disciples acknowledged the empty tomb but would have absolutely no reason to perpetuate such a ruse with Thomas. So where was Jesus?
Yes, the disciples would be hounded by such a question… Thomas would hammer them with it. It’s been a week… and no Jesus!
Also with the Sanhedrin’s accusations flying about the holy city it was not a safe place to hang out if you were a disciple. You were being accused as a grave robber. And you were spreading rumors based on obvious lies that Jesus had risen from the dead as your defense. Tensions must have been high in the city.
You would be wise to lay low as one of the original twelve. Hiding out but wondering… where is Jesus? They would say to themselves, “We really need him to show up. Thomas is pestering us saying that he would not believe us unless he sees him face to face touching his wounds. And the other disciples who had not seen him but believe need a little reassurance. And heck, we could use a little wisdom on how not to get arrested!”
Ever been on the spot where you wondered where Jesus was when you needed him? Don’t fret he will show up. Sunday’s coming! Maybe you should even go back to the place you last encountered him. That’s what the disciples did. They made sure Thomas was with them this time!