Appearances of Jesus // Jesus Appears to the Disciples(Thomas is Absent)

Images by Alyssa Marie Francis

Images by Alyssa Marie Francis

Luke 24:36-49

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. My favorite part of that book was when the Stone Table broke. The sound terrified Susan and Lucy, and the next thing they knew, Aslan was with them again. He wasn’t a ghost. Instead, he revealed that there was a Deeper Magic that the witch was unaware of: 

“If she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

Aslan’s resurrection is an allegory of how Jesus appears to the apostles in today’s passage.  Like Aslan, Jesus revealed the deeper meaning behind what the Scriptures said about His death and resurrection. Jesus also foreshadows the coming of the Holy Spirit and how the apostles will spread the good news throughout the world. You can only imagine the shock, surprise, and relief the apostles felt as they watched their formerly dead rabbi eat amongst them again, and help them understand what just happened.

There’s only one question, though: Why is Thomas absent? Nobody really knows for certain, but back when I was in college, I wrote a play that proposed a theory. In my play, some of the disciples, including Thomas, were in the Upper Room, figuring out what to do after Jesus’s death, since the play takes place on Good Friday and the day after. Some of the apostles weren’t around because they ran off to find other places to hide. Thomas, however, leaves the safety of his friends because he wanted to be alone. He was consumed by anger as a way to cope with losing Jesus.

Most of us know that Thomas is famous for being a doubter. When I wrote my play, I interpreted that doubt as a form of anger, denial, and despair. He might have been the kind of person who could only understand what’s right in front of him, the things that he sees and hears and touches. And it’s hard to cope with death when all you have is the material. There are many people out there like that who only believe in the material world and cling to disbelief out of some form of anger, denial, or despair. Please pray for these people.

Reflect: Why do you think Thomas wasn’t there? How do you think you would’ve coped with Jesus’s death if you weren’t certain about him coming back?

Act: Pray for the conversions of atheists and agnostics.