Summary: This is a first person Easter sermon from the perspective of Thomas Jesus Disciple.
Stop reading at v27a- Before you tell them what Jesus said to me, let me introduce myself and share with a little background to this; the one thing I seem to be remembered for. My name is Thomas I was born and raised in the area of Galilee. A Hebrew by birth and an avid follower of El-Elohe- Israel - The God of Israel - I was still in my middle years when Jesus began preaching in Galilee. I saw in Him at once a hope for which I had long searched. Was this man the Messiah I had so long looked for the one prophesied sent from God who would come and be salvation for His people. My friends called me crazy when I left my work and my family to follow Him.
I joined Jesus early in His ministry in Galilee and was numbered among the Twelve who followed Him most closely. Little did I know when I began to follow Him the wonderful and terrible things that I would witness. You read now about the feeding of the 5,000- I was there - I saw the 5 loaves and 2 fish in the little boys lunch basket. I heard Jesus as He blessed the food and I watched as a little boys lunch was transformed into food for an army in the hands of Jesus.
I saw Him work wonderful miracles - the blind could see, the lamb walk, even one woman was healed by simply touching the hem of his prayer shawl. I was with Him in Bethany when He spoke but a word and Lazarus our friend who had been dead for 4 days walked alive out of his tomb.
I was one of the twelve commissioned and empowered by Him to preach the message of repentance- to cast out demons and heal the sick. We left with only the clothes on our backs to be His emissaries to the world.
Then came that fateful week. We knew that something was going to happen. Jesus was headed for Jerusalem. I knew that the time had come. He would proclaim Himself Messiah and lead us to Salvation and deliverance from all our oppressors.
People lined the roads to Jerusalem that day- Shouting out His praises and declaring His Kingship. They laid palm branches in the road -I laid this very tunic on the colt that He was riding. I wear it still to remind me of Him. I remember the Temple when Jesus cleared the Court of the Gentiles driving out the money-changers. I remember the His teaching on the Mount of Olives, I remember his words to us as we celebrated the Passover together. I didn’t understand what He meant when He said This is my Body and This is my blood. I wouldn’t understand it until later. I remember as we left the Upper Room I had a sense of foreboding about that night but nothing in my wildest nightmares prepared me for what was about to happen.
Jesus wanted us to pray with Him as we got to the Garden - He bid us wait and took Peter James and John on a little ways to a quiet place to pray. That is all I knew until suddenly I was jolted awake by the sounds of a mob. I stood to run and warn Him but He walked right up to us. The hour has come He said - behold the son of man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. As they came I recognized Judas leading the group. Judas who had been one of us. He came to Jesus and kissed Him - the foul kiss of betrayal. And Jesus went with them. When they seized Him - I didn’t know what to do- I ran- I ran as fast as I could and I didn’t stop running until I fell on my face. Then the real nightmare began. They held a mock trial- they carried Him before Pilate- Crucify Him the people shouted- What were they saying - these people who had just shouted King- Now they shouted for the murderer Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified.
I watched - silently- fearfully - I once had been willing to die for Him in Bethany - now I couldn’t make my quivering mouth say a word.
The next time I saw Him - the one I had followed as Lord- the one who I knew would be King- He walked out of the Praetorium - a grotesque bloody mockery of Himself. He had been beaten and bloodied by the whips of the Romans- He wore a crown of thorns pressed down into his head. His ruined body could hardly carry the weight of the cross. I watched Him fall under the weight of it- I longed to run to His side, to help Him, anything. But it was as if my feet were rooted in stone.