The whole situation was tormenting me. How could I believe them? It would be unfair to call them frivolous men, I had seen too much of their hearts for that: the deep questions, the tears, the confusion, the wonder. They certainly gave weight to the important things. And yet they were impetuous, impulsive, prone to act first and think later, and some thinking was definitely needed. Nothing was making sense, and their garbled accounts of what they had seen and heard were just confusing me further. But, or so I thought at the time, if they were going to come up with such an amazing, world-changing, heart-delivering story, couldn’t they at least have made it consistent and compelling?
I realise now that I was being completely unfair, but back then I think most of us had the effrontery to believe that we, ourselves, uniquely, had the best insight into what Jesus was all about, and loved Him the best. And of course, all of us were significantly wrong in some respects. But back then I thought that because I was more serious-minded than some of the other disciples, (read pessimistic), I took Jesus more seriously than they did. There were moments (I admit it now with shame) when Peter’s grandiose gestures that made no sense, or John’s starry-eyed intensity, or Andrew’s relentlessly cheerful practicality left me biting my tongue in frustration. Couldn’t Jesus see that I was quiet precisely because I was thinking deeper thoughts than the others?
So, when they started gabbling that Jesus was still alive, even though I had seen them lay Him in the tomb, I just wanted to shut out their interminable words. The wound was too raw! All this talk about His appearing in their midst sounded just like a ghost story, and the part about being glorious yet still showing His wounds made no sense to me. I was sure that in their grief they were imagining things, or perhaps they had been comforted by angels? “I am not going to believe,” I told them, “unless I can actually see, and touch, those nail prints in His hands, and that wound in His side.” For how can a man bear to mistake dreams for reality if the awakening would destroy him? There is only so much pain and disappointment that a man can bear.
Then, of course, a week later, it happened, and my world, and my life, were changed forever. There we were in the upper room, with me still not wanting to hear. And there He was. There was no walking through walls or any of the strangenesses of pagan tales, He was simply there in our midst. And He was real, more real than my own flesh and blood. All my grief, all my wounded, broken disappointment, rushed to the surface in their jagged desolation. Then He spoke peace to us, and it was like that moment in Galilee when He had spoken peace to the writhing wind and waves. The world resumed its proper shape again. But He was not yet finished. He turned to me, displaying His wounds and bidding me to touch them so that I might believe.
There was no need. I knew, and in the act of knowing I was transformed and released into worship. I would be wrestling with the significance of it all for many days to come, but I would never again doubt the most important thing of all. With tears of wondering love I knelt before Him. “My Lord and my God,” I said.