But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.…
After a great fire, or a flood like that which desolated Johnstown, a time always comes for a deliberate calculation of the loss. But it is seldom that we sit down and figure out how much we have lost by neglect of opportunity, or the waste of time. It is said that a great American lawyer once put down in black and white the loss of money and reputation which resulted from his stopping on the way to the trial of an important case, to have two minutes' gossip with a friend. Such calculations are rare, because we no more like to think of what is irrecoverably gone than a soldier likes to visit a battlefield where he was ignominously beaten.
1. The personal presence of his Master was one element of the loss.
2. But Thomas also lost the help which he might have had in the Christian sympathy of his brethren. They were in a common trouble. That trouble ought to have bound them the more strongly to each other. In the Paris exposition Of 1889 was a wonderful picture, which told its own story. A peasant's hut furnished the scene. The scanty house. hold belongings told of poverty. The fire had gone out on the hearth. The rough table was destitute of food. In the corner, covered with a white sheet, lay something which spoke of death. But, huddled close together, as if fearing to be parted, the children are represented as clinging to each other. The whole picture seemed to say, "When the mother is dead, what can the children do but keep together?" That was the spirit in which Christ's personal followers met on the first Sunday night after the Crucifixion. Their only comfort, when their Master was dead, was in keeping near to each other. What a help it would have been to Thomas, if, in the loneliness of his supposed orphanage, he could have had the strength which comes from personal contact with others in the same experience of sorrow! On our Illinois prairies, the farmers, in the harvest-time, never set a single sheaf of grain standing by itself. They put them so that half a dozen lean the one against the Other, and thus give mutual support. The old story tells us that Alexander the Great mourned over the loss of a day. But Thomas must have deplored the loss of a week. On an ocean steamship, there are no hours of greater discomfort than those in which the fog-whistle sounds its dismal note. The incertitude where the right way lies, and the consciousness of peril without the power to see how to avoid it, make every such hour an hour of misery. But such a fog is as nothing to that which envelops him who finds a distrust of his nearest friend creeping over his soul. It would all have been spared him, if he had been "there when Jesus came." The evidence which Christ granted him a week later might have been given him when the other disciples "knew it was the Lord." One of the first effects of doubt of the gospel in the heart of a Church-member is to keep him away from the meetings of his brethren. The very place in which Christ would meet him, and remove his puzzling difficulties, is the place he neglects.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.