John 20:24-29 tells us, in new King James fashion, this story;
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Let’s say that some one has brought you one-tenth of a jigsaw puzzle but because of the hundreds of pieces you don’t realize it’s not all there. The person who gave you the puzzle didn’t tell you that it was a magical puzzle. The other pieces will appear when specific pieces are in their right place. With the placement of one, another unseen piece will appear.
The puzzling pieces are dumped in a heap and then sorted. Edges go over here; blues go there, red here and so on. These shapes are piled there, while those shapes go over there.
Most of us will stand the box upright so we will have a visible idea of what this mess is supposed to look like, but this puzzle is different, there is no picture. All you see on the front of the box is a description of what the puzzle will look like when completed. The person that gave you this gift neglected to tell you that the rest of the directions would appear when a certain piece was in place.
You spend a good amount of time putting the pieces in place. You put in what you think is the last piece; as soon as it “snaps” into place though, more pieces materialize. Your amazement is indescribable and with renewed purpose you press on and press more pieces into place. As each piece adds a little more to the picture, your perception changes; you’re not as puzzled as before. Things you’d never seen before are being displayed for you. The “heap” is beginning to make sense.
Our Christian walk and more importantly, our bibles, are the same way. First given to us, this book is nothing but a heap of words. We sort out the edges, trying to find our boundaries. Each verse or chapter adds a different color to our lives. This verse connects to that one and adds more to the scene portrayed in our minds. What no one told us is that when the last piece that we can see is in place, more would appear.
The same way jigsaw puzzles are often family time; there is often a benefit of working together on the puzzling things in the bible. I have one piece in my hand and if it fits in the puzzle of your heart, then more pieces will appear for you.
The disciples were “in church.” Jesus followers gathered in one place. They had the “heap” of words of the Old Testament strewn across the tablets of their hearts. They also had a heap of memories of the three years or so with Jesus; but they didn’t see the whole picture. One piece just didn’t fit and until it was in place, the other pieces would never be seen.
Our bibles are the same as a magical puzzle that has no picture on the cover. We get so far into reading them that a picture, a vision or a dream begins to reveal itself to us, but that last piece that will unlock more for us just doesn’t seem to fit, so we assume we know what the rest of the scene might be.
The piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit in the disciples minds’ is often the same one that doesn’t fit in ours. Jesus knows which piece it is. He comes to that place where believers gather and His being there “in the midst” is that piece.
When He came to church in the chapter before this one, He said “Peace be unto you.” The piece that was missing was not just peace, it was Him. His words of “Peace” were pressed into their puzzled hearts by His nail scarred hand. A bigger picture began to appear to them when that peace was in place.
As soon as Thomas walks into the church group they excitedly tell him “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas was just as confused by the recent events as they were and came into this room with a puzzle of his own. The last piece just didn’t make any sense to him. “Why would a man claim to come to save, but be unable to save himself?” Thomas was puzzled about peace; “I thought He gave me His peace, then what is this all about?”
He had pieced together some of the puzzling OT prophecies. He assumed he knew what the picture would look like but so far the rest of it was lost on him.
We do the same thing. A brother, who wasn’t there when the Lord showed Himself to us, comes in. He hasn’t been to church with us for days and we think we can persuade him that what we are saying is true. With good intentions, we want him to hear those words of peace with God. When he resists, we assume he is unteachable or rebellious, or worse, in our pride we say he is deaf and blind.
As is His custom, Jesus walks through not only the walls of the building; He walks through the walls of Thomas’ heart and with the hand that was pressed against Calvary’s tree He puts the “peace” in place.
The bigger picture begins to appear for Thomas, as he said himself “My Lord and my God!” What puzzled him before was that he didn’t see the peace of the puzzle that only Jesus could press into his heart. After that peace was in place, more pieces of the puzzle called the Believers life came into view.
Though you have a brother who just “doesn’t get it” and you’ve said to him time and time again “We have seen the Lord!” Until Jesus reveals Himself and the scars of Calvary to your brother, he will just be puzzled.
The missing piece is Peace. I can’t put that piece in the puzzle for you though. Jesus has to do that.
If you’ve settled for a peace that doesn’t move you to say “My Lord and my God.”, then all you will be is confused, puzzled.
The missing piece is His peace. Just fits, doesn’t it?
Dear Don, when I read this piece two Scriptures come to mind. Rev. 9:7--but in the days of the sounding of THE SEVENTH ANGEL, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. Rev. 11:15--Then THE SEVENTH ANGEL sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD HAVE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD and His Christ, and He shall reign forever, and ever! Your article makes one think. Thank you very much for sharing with us. Blessings, Sharon