Claressa was a bit confused. She went to the meeting because she had promised Manaheem. She half expected to see a house full of half-crazed zealots. When they arrived, they were met at the door by Mary of Magdala who smiled and said, “Yes, may I help you?”
“We were invited,” offered Manaheem, “by a big brawny man named Barabbas.”
“Of course, of course. Do come in.”
The home of John Mark was small but crowded with families of believers. At first, she was a little intimidated to be there among so many strangers, but Manaheem assured her there was nothing to worry about. They introduced themselves to several of the people sitting in front and took a seat toward the center of the room. Then, still perusing the people, Claressa noticed, toward the back, the big brawny man who had invited them sitting there with a woman and some children. She poked Manaheem. “Isn’t that the man who invited us?”
“It is indeed.” Manaheem waved to Barabbas.
Upon seeing the couple, Barabbas told the children to stay put and he and Deborah walked over to them.
“I’m so glad you could make it. This is my Wife, Deborah. Deborah, say hello to Manaheem and his lady friend.”
“My name is Claressa,” she volunteered.
“So,” asked Deborah, “Are you both followers of the Master, or did you come just to see what’s going on?”
“I am a devout follower of Jesus” offered Manaheem, “ever since that day I knelt by His cross and watched Him die.”
“I ran into Manaheem when I went back to see the man who was dying for me” offered Barabbas.”
“That’s right” agreed Manaheem. “It was you who convinced me to go back and kneel there myself. For that, I will be forever grateful.”
“I’m glad, but it must have been the Lord who had us to meet there.”
Deborah was taking all of this in, but then she turned to Claressa. “And, what about you?”
“I’m not sure about any of this” Claressa ventured. “Manaheem seems so sure and I thought I would come and see what’s going on for myself.”
“Well, you’re certainly welcome. Perhaps the Master will appear again tonight.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” scoffed another man in the corner.
“Why, Thomas, why is it so hard for you to believe?”
“I think you must all be delusional,” said the rather stout fellow in reply. “Anyway, as I told you before, I won’t believe till I put my finger in the nail holes and thrust my hand in the wound in his side.”
Claressa didn’t know what to think. Perhaps this man’s skepticism was called for, she thought. After all, dead men don’t rise. Then the two men to whom he had appeared on the road to Emmaus again recited their tale of how he was made known to them in breaking of the bread. But Thomas just frowned and said, “Aw, you must have been dreaming!” Claressa thought, “perhaps that was what it was—a dream.”
Barabbas, Deborah, and their children were so far in the back that they were away from the other children and also from Thomas and the others who were speaking. Ruth turned to her father and asked, “Why doesn’t that man believe Jesus is alive?”
“I don’t know dear. I guess it’s harder for some people to believe.”
“But you saw Him, didn’t you Daddy?”
“Yes, I saw Him.”
“Well, why don’t you tell them?”
But just then Peter stood up, pointed to the door, which was now barred, and began talking about the previous time when the Master had appeared through the door as if by magic. “Perhaps that was what it was,” thought Claressa, “a form of magic or illusion.” Then Peter started to tell about how Jesus had shown them his hands and feet.
But, then, suddenly to the surprise of everyone, there was a slight rumbling sound and suddenly another figure appeared in the room. It was as if he had come straight through the wall. There was something almost glowing about him.
The children recognized him right away. “It’s Him! It’s Jesus!”
“Wow! I knew he would appear.”
Manaheem gave Claressa a gentle nudge. “It’s Him. It’s the one who died on the cross. I told you He’s alive. NOW, what do you say, my dear?”
But Claressa was silent, her eyes fixed upon the new arrival.
“Peace be unto you,” said the Savior to all, and, walking directly over to Thomas, told him to place his hand in his side and his fingers in the nail prints and to believe.
The disciple was overwhelmed and fell to his knees, crying “My Lord and My God.”
This was enough for Claressa. She knew now that Manaheem was right and this Jesus must be the Jewish Messiah. But how could he be the king of the world? She turned to Manaheem and said: “It looks like you were right. He did rise from the dead.”
“I told you that big guy wouldn’t lie.”
“But how can he be king of the world?”
“He wants to be king of anyone who accepts Him—king, Savior, and redeemer. I already told you that I accepted Him. What about you?”
“Oh. I don’t know, Manaheem. This whole thing is so new and-----I’d just like some time to think about it.”
“Fine. I’ll drive you home and we can discuss it more on the way.”
“No, Manaheem. I think I’d like to be by myself tonight. I’ll find my own way home. I need to think this out for myself.”
“Suit yourself. When will I see you again?”
“I’m not at all sure. Perhaps at the next meeting.”
He understood her reason but prayed she would soon decide to accept Jesus for herself.
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