February 24
Missing from the meeting!
For reading & meditation: John 20:24-31
"Now Thomas ' was not with the disciples when Jesus came." (v.24)

We said a couple of days ago that those who choose to deprive themselves of fellowship with other Christians miss out on life's greatest science - learning about God. I heard one preacher say: "People who neglect attendance at the house of God are fools because on some favoured occasion something special and powerful will happen - and they will not be there." The passage we have read today tells us of that glorious post- resurrection appearance of our Lord to His disciples. The disciples thought He was dead, and although there were rumours of His resurrection, they were not convinced. Suddenly, He appeared to them - they saw Him, heard Him, and felt the impact of His mighty presence. But here is the heart-rending tragedy of it: "Thomas ' was not with the disciples when Jesus came." Why was Thomas missing from that meeting? Many preachers have speculated on the reasons for his absence, and they vary from Thomas not expecting Jesus to be there, to being afraid for his life. My own view, for what it is worth, is that there was something wrong with Thomas himself. The root cause of his defection, so I believe, was his own doubting and denying heart. My experience in the ministry has taught me that those who profess to be Christians and yet deliberately absent themselves from fellowship with their brothers and sisters, are the ones who are usually most in need of this fellowship.

Gracious and loving heavenly Father, help me realise that the very time I need to be among my brothers and sisters is when I am at my lowest spiritually. Burn this truth into my consciousness so that it will never leave me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. What is the message of the parable of the virgins?
2. How are 5 of them described?