This is a story about Jesus’ gang of friends, the disciples. In particular, it’s about Thomas.
We don’t know an awful lot about Thomas, but what we do know points towards him not being afraid to be different to the others, and having an unquestioning faith in Jesus. One time Jesus wanted to go to a place where people had been nasty to him before and the others didn’t want to go, it was Thomas who bravely stood up for Jesus’ decision. After the Resurrection, Thomas was probably the only one of the gang to go to another country to tell people all about Him. He probably brought Christianity to India, where he is said to have died.
After Jesus died, his gang of best mates used to meet in a little room over the local café. (John down the road’s mum owned it and she used to let them get the little balls with toys in out of the machines for free.) Of course, no-one liked Jesus’ gang very much at that point – they would mostly like to do to them what they did to Jesus! So when they met, they always had to go in disguise and one at a time. Peter always went first, wearing sunglasses and a floppy hat. Then they went in one by one, all in different disguises. Andrew used to dress up like a clown and Simon once wore his Mum’s dress!
One afternoon they all met up in the room for pizza and a beer, everyone except Thomas, who couldn’t come that day because his auntie Linda was visiting all the way from Egypt. When they arrived they all had to do the secret knock, one at a time, until finally they were all in. Then they sent Bartholomew straight back out with the pizza order. They drew straws and the loser got to get the pizzas. Everyone liked a different type.
Peter liked pomegranate pizza.
John liked jam pizza.
James liked jelly pizza.
Andrew liked anchovy pizza (eeeergghh!)
Philip liked cool creamy Philly pizza.
Bartholomew liked buttered pizza.
Matthew liked margarine pizza (he was on a diet).
The Other James liked orange pizza.
Simon the Zealot liked ham and pineapple pizza.
Judas liked gingerbread pizza.
Today Bartholomew was secretly a bit pleased that Thomas wasn’t there because you’ll never guess what Thomas’ favourite pizza was… Ice cream pizza! That made all kinds of mess if he couldn’t get back to their room quick enough!
At last they have all settled in the little room, the pizza is sorted, the toys from the machine have been put away and they’ve found the bottle opener under the table. They are just about to tuck in when what do you think happens?
The door is locked tight, the windows are closed and no-one except John down the road’s mum knows they’re there, but… suddenly there is somebody else in the room with them! Well, everyone is terrified and they’ve all fallen off their chairs in fright, when the somebody takes a deep breath and says, “Calm down, peace, guys!” It was Jesus! He carried on.
“God our Father sent me to you lot to be your friend. Now I’m sending you lot out to tell people about me!” He took a great, big, deep, breath then breathed all over them all, giving them the Holy Spirit. “When someone is mean to you, you have to forgive them and forget about it.”
Of course, the whole gang was over the moon! They couldn’t stop talking about it and as soon as they saw Thomas they told him all about it. But how do you think Thomas felt? How would you feel if all your friends had a party without you, had a great time and got a special visitor? Thomas felt horrible! He felt jealous and cross and sad and so he said, just so he wouldn’t start crying in front of his mates, “I don’t believe you!” He could feel his lip quivering so he quickly added “ Until I can stick my fingers in the holes in his hands and put my hand in the hole in his side, I DON”T BELIEVE YOU!” Then he ran off as fast as he could.
So Thomas was mad at the gang, convinced they were making up stories and teasing him. The gang was mad a Thomas for not believing them. They still all hung around together, but they wouldn’t talk to each other at all! When they met up in the little room again eight days later, Thomas had to do the secret knock twice before they let him in, then they made him go and get the pizza. When he got to the pizza place, he had to wait for the anchovies to cook and what’s Thomas’ favourite? Ice cream pizza! By the time he got back to the room he had ice cream dripping all over the place!
At last they have all settled in the little room, the pizza is sorted, the toys from the machine have been put away and they’ve found the bottle opener under the table again. They are just about to tuck in when what do you think happens?
You guessed it; Jesus turns up again. Again, everyone is really excited and happy… except Thomas. The gang are bouncing about the room singing, but Thomas is sitting at the end of the table, feeling very confused and really quite silly for not believing his friends. He’s hoping no-one notices him and says ‘I told you so!’
Jesus, though, goes straight up to Thomas and said “Peace! You doubter, you, put your fingers in the holes in my hands, put your hand in my side. Is it I? Then believe, muppet!” Then he ruffled his hair to show he wasn’t mad. Thomas just couldn’t believe his luck. He knelt down in front of Jesus and said
Jesus looked at the gang and said “Thomas here believes because he sees. People that believe in me without seeing me will get even more blessings than Thomas here.”
And Thomas and all the others: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, the Other James, Simon the Zealot and Judas were best friends again. Everyone settled down to their pizzas. Thomas tried to get Jesus to try a slice of his ice cream pizza and everyone laughed at Jesus’ expression. Thomas didn’t mind. “You lot don’t know what you’re missing. Ice cream pizza is yummy for the tummy!”
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