Every Easter, the History Channel (or the Discovery Channel, PBS, NBC, et. al….) runs a program looking over hot Christian topics: the historicity of the books of the Bible; the myths of Jesus having a family after the crucifixion; stories about where Jesus’ body might be found. The same thing happens around Christmas. Sure it’s all for ratings but what they’re attacking makes sense to me.
I hate New Years Resolutions so you won’t hear one coming from me. It just smells of Law and once something like that rises up, I die and wind up breaking my resolution.
Be that as it may I plan to go through the Bible in 13 weeks or 90 days again. I’ve had it set up before, I usually wind up doing it every year but some of my studies sometimes gets me stuck in a specific book and then that’s the end of the 90 days.
But Zondervan has thought that 90 day Bible Readings are a great idea so they published a sheet for people to use. I’m also supplying my own sheet with a daily reading but focused more on the order of book publishing—it’s a Historical reading of the Bible so you get to see the thought flow running through scripture and finally culminating at Revelation (note, how on mine John is one of the last books of the Bible which makes a nice bracket with Genesis. Also, I lost my original chart and had to redo this one so if a book is missing, let me know!)
Anyway, feel free to use and abuse them. It’s a lot of reading and some days you’ll wind up reading more than others since my goal was to make sure an entire book is read at a sitting –but if not it gets split up into several readings.
Do me a favor, go to this link and add yourself to the competition. In so doing, I get an extra submission my way and you get a chance to win as well. Of course, this will do nothing for you if you’re not particularly into theological books but that’s okay. You can send me a book as a “thank you” for kicking you to the competition.
It’s Another Tim Challies Crazy Monergism.Com Book Give-Away.
“Wow, Saul really did Bad Stuff to David. Hunting him. Throwing a spear at him. Wanting to kill him.”
“Yes, Sy: Saul was a bad king. A very jealous man.”
“But at least, in the end he turned good and started telling everybody about Jesus.”
“What? No, Saul never did that, Sy.”
“But, Don’t you remember? Saul–he became Paul! And he preached about God.”
Sunday. The Eighth Day.
The door opens and Thomas enters in, the small hot room is filled with men. The meal is being set out on the table. John is wearing a towel, finishing washing Matthew’s feet. Matthew is weeping but there’s no sadness in the tears.
"Look who’s here!" Andrew shouting. Thomas waves as Andrew locks the door behind him.
"Tom" Peter bellows while Thomas says "Hey Pete"
"Tommy!" Phil shouts.
"Hey, you’re here!" John, rising from the floor coming over with bucket in hand. Thomas and Andrew walk towards the group.
"Guys, I’m only here for a little bit but I gotta’ tell you–"
"Shalom. Shalom be with you." The voice comes to the right shoulder of Thomas. The door is still closed, the lockbar still in place.
Silence. The disciples are transfixed over Thomas’ shoulder and he doesn’t breathe as He closes his eyes and slowly turns around.
"Tom. Come over here with your finger and see My hands. Why don’t you also put your hand here, in My side. Stop doubting but believe."
Thomas doesn’t move; he barely looks at the very real evidence of the risen Jesus. He stares at his eyes and his long, lonely week slam into him bringing him to his knees, knocking him down to understand and confess.
"You are the Lord Messiah–but more, you are my Lord Master. You are my Lord God. My Lord and My God."
The sun is shining brightly. We are outside of the house, looking in through the open window seeing Thomas standing at the open door. The table is no longer turned over. The stain on the wall is cleaned. Thomas’ personal effects lay neatly on the table, next to his satchel. We can’t hear the soft voice of the person Thomas is speaking with.
"No, I will not come Sabbath: the High Priest may still be looking for us. I will be leaving on tomorrow evening. They’re still in Jerusalem you say? Well, I’ll see them there then.
"I have some words for them: even if He really isn’t alive the signs He did, the words He said, the authority He gave us: all those things are too much for a mere man. I still don’t think they’re specifically right about His being back that would imply–well, its not even worth thinking about that."
A longer pause.
"Yes, yes, I know: I’m not doubting you. I’m saying that when people hope so much, anything is possible but, let’s not argue. I think I understand some things about Him now that I didn’t have a clue about when He was still alive.
"He knew, Martha! He planned it! I intend to tell them this."
Knocking on the heavy wooden door. No one is answering. Martha says something about the Disciples still being in Jerusalem and now we can see her walking away, sadly looking over her shoulder.
The table is still turned over. The pillows are still in disarray. A smear of dried liquid is on the wall. On the floor, staring up at the ceiling with tired yet active eyes is Thomas.
He raises his hands to his face, turns them upwards, then turns the palms back to himself.
"These hands performed miracles." He squints at the dirty fingernails and the calluses "These hands cast out demons and yet they have no power."
He sits up and continues to examine his hands then touches his lips "This mouth preached the Kingdom of God to the Jews and even" he smiles "the Samaritans. These lips.
"And yet they have no knowledge on their own."
He reaches down to his feet, rubs the calluses and shakes his head "These feet walked about, preaching His Gospel and yet they have no reason to walk about if not for that Gospel.
Thomas’ head shoots up "We did all this because He was the one who told us to. We had no power, He gave it to us. We had no message, it was His words. We had no hope, it was all in Him."
“We don’t know where you’re going, how can we know the way to get there…” Thomas growls to himself. “We don’t KNOW where you’re going!” he yells it snidely, grabs a pillow and throws it against the wall.”
He kicks over the table and punches the wall “Let’s go with him to Judea and die!” grabs his bag and throws it against the wall “We don’t Know where you’re going!” Thomas throws a punch at the air and falls down, heavily breathing.
“…Eloi, eloi, lama sabachtani…?” He turns over “How could we have been so blind?”
Thomas is at the door, basket in hand waving at Martha who is going back to the main house. The sun is high in the noon sky.
He carries the basket back to the table and sits down, heavily sinking into the pillow around it. He takes a big whiff, smiles absentmindedly and opens up the small towel covering the food.
Bread. Fish. A skin of wine.
He gingerly, tenderly picks up the fish, his eyes distant "…how we worked that day. Here…there…" He smiles "…how we worked.
"Over five thousand fed from…" he picks up bread, drops it "a few scant loaves and couple of measly fish. We knew He was Messiah from that and yet…and yet it was the next day…
"…at the Synagogue…about His body being bread. Then at the supper on that night–‘this is my body given for you.’ Not only did He know but He planned for this very thing.
"At that time He said He’d raise us up on the last day…how could He do that if He was in Sheol where there is no knowledge of God?"
Thomas eats, brow furrowed.
We all know the story about Doubting Thomas and how, in a flash his doubt was wiped away. In John 20, Thomas demands proof for Christ’s resurrection and refuses to believe unless he puts his hand into His side. Well, 8 days later Jesus pops up into the room and next thing we know Thomas is answering the proof (which he hasn’t put his hands on, mind you) with "My Lord and my God!" Jesus’ response to that statement is probably the one some of us have asked: just because he saw Jesus, He believed? I mean what if it was a twin brother or a look-a-like? And really, what made Thomas go that far anyway to call Him God? Well, for a few days, I’m going to be posting a story, in almost screenplay format, called "Thomas’ Lonely Week".
The small room is dark save for the soft light of the moon that drifts in through one of the nearby windows. The light falls gently onto a wooden table, pillows and finally the large, heavy door. The door swings open and in strides a medium height, curly haired figure, breathing heavily.
He drops a bag on the table, moves a chair and starts shuffling through something on the floor. The clapping of rocks is heard with the bright flash of flintstones (which illuminates his bearded face) until after two strikes an oil lamp is lit.
He sits heavily in the chair, his eyes fiery, daring the flickering flame.
"Oh come on." he mumbles, then momentarily, laughs humorlessly. "Give me a break!" He reaches over to the bag and pulls out some flat wafers which he proceeds to crunch on. "He was right here. We saw Him." his voice is mocking, unnaturally deep then he’s shaking his head. "Those guys will believe anything. It’s over…"
"…man, but Lazarus." He pauses, sits back. "Laz is definitely alive…"
He shakes his head, blows out the candle and gets up and drops onto his mat on the floor.
It goes dark with a passing cloud and unknown amount of time.
The room illuminates slightly as clouds allow the moon to shine on the tossing and turning person on the mat.