Imagine it. The horses are tethered, they stomp their feet in anticipation of a long trek and snort their disapproval of having to wait. John and Thomas crawl up onto the driver’s seat as Jesus throws open the stage door and takes his seat on the hard wooden bench. John gives a loud whistle as he cracks the whip above the horses and the coach jerks forward.
The day is hot even though the sun has just risen. Jesus leans back against the hard wooden seat. It will be a long ride along the dusty path. The wind blows his hair and reaching up He moves it out of His eyes. He can hear John and Thomas talking and occasionally laughter fills the air. He smiles and closes His eyes and is soon asleep.
A sudden jolt and dangerous tilting of the coach startles Jesus awake throwing Him against the wall. One side of the coach has collapsed and the coach suddenly stops. John and Thomas jump down from their perch and Thomas wrings his hands while groaning loudly. “What are we going to do?” He shouts while pacing back and forth in front of the broken wheel. “Where’s Jesus?” he shouts and spins around to see Jesus carefully maneuvering His way out of the coach.
Thomas runs to Him, “The wheel is broken, Lord, what are we to do? We don’t have a spare. We’re stuck out here!” Sweat pours down his face and he quickly swipes it out of his eyes. Fear has gripped him and Jesus gently places His hand on Thomas’s shoulder, “Fear not, Thomas, I am with you.”
Jesus walks to the side of the stage-coach. He stands studiously peering at the good wheel with John and Thomas close behind Him.
“Sit!” Jesus says to the two disciples. “I want to tell you something.” They sit down on the ground in front of Jesus. “He’s going to tell us a story in the midst of this crisis?” Thomas thinks. John sits quietly waiting.
“Do you see this wheel?” Jesus asks, pointing to the stage-coach wheel. Both nod yes. “This wheel represents the body of Christ.” Thomas whispers, “Huh?” Jesus smiles then continues. “The spokes are My children.” Thomas moves his hat aside and scratches his head. John nods. “Pay attention, Thomas!” Jesus states. “Each spoke is equal but each has been given a divine purpose. One has a gift of prophecy, another has the gift of exhortation, another is a teacher, another a home maker, another a preacher. All work together to make the wheel, the church, strong.”
Jesus reaches over and takes hold of one of the spokes and gives it a good jerk. “As long as these spokes cling tightly to the hub the wheel will remain strong and sturdy. I tell you the truth, I am the hub that holds it all together.”
“Okay.” Thomas states and glances up at the hot sun shining down on them. “Now let’s go look at the broken wheel.” Jesus states and they stand and walk to the broken wheel.
“What do you see?” Jesus asks. Thomas is quick to reply, “A broken, crushed wheel and we’re stuck out here in this heat.” “Oh ye of little faith.” Jesus states. “Look at it! I tell you the truth, the body of Christ is broken!”
“Huh?” Thomas says. John nods in understanding.
“My shepherds are not teaching My Word. They are following the dictates of what the people want to hear. They are accepting evil as good and turning good into evil! Instead of loving one another as I love them they are divided. They are accepting the ploys of the enemy to destroy their faith. When one falls away the others are quick to condemn.”
Thomas sits quietly and John asks, “I’m not sure I fully understand. How does this relate to this broken wheel and the circumstances we are in, Lord?”
“Do you not yet understand, John? When one spoke is broken the wheel can still turn, the others offer support. It keeps the wheel from completely falling apart. But when several spokes break it weakens the whole wheel until eventually the wheel can not move forward. It lies dead in the sand.” Jesus points to the broken stage-coach wheel, “Just like that! What good is that wheel?”
Thomas states dejectedly, “Good for nothing.”
“That’s where my church is heading unless the body repents and comes together in unity. If My children will turn back to Me I will hear their prayers and heal their land but they must stop being weak in their faith, silent in the face of evil, and stand up to the sins in the world or the church will be as weak and damaged and useless as this wheel.”
Thomas shifts uncomfortably. He still doesn’t get it and asks, “But what are we to do?” and thinks, We’re still stuck out here.
Jesus turns and points to a large stick in the distance. “Have faith! Thomas, go get that long stick over there.”
“What for?” Thomas asks.
“You’ll see. Just trust Me.”
Thomas retrieves the long stick. “Now what?”
“Strike that broken wheel three times with it.”
“Huh? What good is that going to do?”
“Just do it, Thomas!” Jesus states emphatically.
Shaking his head in bewilderment Thomas strikes the broken wheel.
Jesus leans back in His seat as the dust from the spinning coach wheels and the horses hooves billows through the open window, When are they going to trust Me!? He thinks and closes His eyes.
Blessings to you.