This passage is a story of after the event.
You know when there has been a massive build up to something – meticulous planning, great hopes, high expectation – and even when it has gone well, there is an anti-climax feeling afterwards. What now? That had been the focus of your life for so long. Now what do you do?
Imagine how it must have felt for the disciples. Things had entirely not gone to plan – and yet, somehow it was all ok – but what was happening, what now?
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.
20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”
29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.
They locked themselves away, worried and afraid. And Jesus came to them. He allowed them to touch his wounds, his pain, to do what they needed to – to be sure that he was real, that it had all happened.
What a relief it must have been, to realise that they hadn’t imagined it. Jesus, the Jesus they knew and head learned so much from, was alive. This is no imposter, it was no fake death – he is here, with them, bringing them faith, hope and forgiveness.
God comes to us – where we are, meets us and allows us to touch him.
Where are you today?
In a place of joy at the Risen Lord? Or more in a place of despair, disillusionment, in a place of anti-climax, feeling abandoned and bereft?
Whichever it is, the risen Jesus comes into that place and speaks his peace. God is here, with you.
Peace to you
And as he gives us his peace, he sends us to take his peace where we go – and the forgiveness of sins.
We are now God’s disciples here on earth, filled with his peace – and called to do his work.
help me to believe,
in you, where you are,
what you can do.
When life is good and happy,
when it is dark
may I know your presence
and your peace.
And knowing your peace,
and receiving your forgiveness,
may I share it with others
who need it too.