Proof of Experience
“He showed them his hands and feet.”
– Luke 24:40, New International Version
“I don’t believe it!” He had no reason to doubt them, yet he did. The words they spoke were contrary to what he had experienced. He was there when Jesus was arrested in the garden when “…the ploughshares of grief were sharpened, and anguish made deep furrows upon him,” (C.H. Spurgeon, January 30, 1859). He had run that day, away from his friend, fearing for his life.
The next day he watched from a safe distance as Jesus was whipped at the pillar of the Praetorium. He saw the lines of grief upon His brow. He watched as his friend was humiliated and disgraced. He saw the woven crown of thorns slammed upon His head – as much to mock His authority as to cause Him pain. He saw them insult and ridicule Jesus knowing all along that He had done nothing wrong. He saw Him change with each passing moment as He went through the process of death. His agony was palpable. And then they killed Him while Thomas watched and wept.
Staggering in grief Thomas distanced himself from the other disciples.
They chose to be together; he chose to be alone. He was in shock, troubled, cynical, mad at the world. When he saw them once more, they had the gall to stand before him with a far-fetched tale of resurrection. “Thomas, you should have been there! We were in the upper room. We locked the place up tight and every time we heard a sound outside we were sure that the soldiers who had killed Jesus were coming to drag us way. And then…and then He was there. Jesus. And he spoke to us, ‘Peace, Shalom.’ He showed us His hands. He pulled back His tunic and we saw where the spear had pierced his side. We saw his feet. There were holes in his body from the nails that held Him on the cross. But, get this, Thomas, get this – He wasn’t weak, or sick or dying! He’s alive, we tell you, He’s alive! Death could not hold Him in the grave!”
He’d let them speak their piece, and then he’d roared at them.
“I don’t care what you say! I. Don’t. BELIEVE. IT!” He had seen Him die.
“Give it up!” With a voice that cut like ice he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will NOT believe it.”
A week later, his anger spent, Thomas was eating with his fellow disciples in the same locked room when suddenly Jesus stood before them. The room filled with a light that drove shadows from the room.
“Shalom,’ He spoke, “peace be with you.”
The blood drained from Thomas’ face as Jesus turned to him and, without rancor or sarcasm, spoke “Thomas, put your finger here, see my hands.” Jesus opened His outer garment and said, “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas fell to his knees, sobbing, “My Lord and my God!”
This same Jesus understands your pain and He has the scars to prove His love for you.
They are proof of His sacrifice for you and for me.
“Your circumstances aren’t a measure of God’s love and goodness – the cross is,” (Anne Cetas).
“My Lord and my God. Help my unbelief.”