Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: QUESTION (S) (05/30/19)
TITLE: Head over heart
By Dave Walker
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But Jesus of Nazareth was different. His obvious love, especially for the underdog, the miracles he performed and his intolerance of anything hypocritical made me a follower.
Yet, my critical spirit was still alive, making me doubt.
I recoiled when he spoke about our eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Was he a madman, taking us on a path away from our faith? Didn't he know the rules about drinking blood? And human blood at that? The questions bombarded me like the sparks that fly from a grinding wheel. I nearly joined the crowd that turned away. Then I heard him ask, "What about you? Do you also want to turn away?" and I couldn't help but agree with Peter. "To whom shall we go?". Despite his words, Jesus was the closest to the real Messiah I'd ever encountered.
Yet I wasn't sure. Those words jarred so! My materialist mind missed his explanation. "My words are spirit and they are life." ... But I followed. What else could I do? I loved him and how he changed the lives around him.
The more time I spent with him, the more my cynicism dissolved. I began to believe in him. I joined the others in the joyful dance of life with Jesus. He had such power; he could deal with any opposition. Or so I thought --- until my world imploded. Though never violent like the other so-called messiahs, I watched in despair as he suffered the same fate as Judas of Gamala. The Romans snuffed him out like a fragile candle sputtering in the dark. Where was my Messiah now?
We were all devastated. The cynical voice at my shoulder said, "What did you expect? You see what happens when you don't analyse everything? Remember his incomprehensible words? His mumbo jumbo about only living if you die? About a person having nothing, yet having what he has, taken away?" It continued. "See what happens when you put your heart before your head?"
Seeking solitude, I wandered into Gethsemane, reliving that fateful night. Even the old olives seemed contorted with grief. I walked to the place where Jesus had left us and gone ahead. I knelt where I had slept that night. This time I prayed.
"God in heaven, I thought Jesus was the One. Now I see he's just like the others. I miss him so. I cannot forget the deep love in his eyes. I truly thought he was Messiah. I'm confused and sorrowful."
Gethsemane became my mourning place. Day after day I knelt among the bent old trees.
One day, as I re-entered the room where the other disciples gathered, hubbub filled the air. "Jesus is alive!" buffeted me from every side, in voices clear and strident in their excitement.
My scepticism rose like a rock-solid wall resisting what I was hearing. I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't face another disappointment. I'd listened to my heart when I'd trusted him as Messiah. That was dashed at Golgotha. This time I'd listen to my head.
"Impossible. I saw him die."
"But he's risen from the dead."
"We've seen Him."
"It can't happen."
"Thomas --- dear Thomas. Always questioning. Just believe. Have faith in Jesus."
"I can't trust. I have to see for myself. I must know it's him." I left again to mourn at Gethsemane.
A week later, I was with them again. Suddenly, he was there. There was no doubting it was him. Those loving eyes on me belonged to no-one else. He lifted his hands to show me his wounds. "Come, Thomas, feel them. It's me."
Something like the song of a thousand angels came bursting from within me. Gone was my critical spirit, drowned in the love that poured from me to my Saviour. I knelt before Him in gratitude and praise. My heart was not wrong after all. With all my being I could exclaim, "My Lord and my God!"
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