John 20:19-31 (CEV)
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them 20 and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy.
21 After Jesus had greeted them again, he said, “I am sending you, just as the Father has sent me.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don’t forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.”
Jesus and Thomas
24 Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”
26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”
28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”
Why John Wrote His Book
30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.
We were alone and afraid. In the last few days we had been through just about every emotion imaginable. Hope, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, thinking this was it, this was the time, the Messiah was here, and everything was going to be different; confusion at the meal, when he spoke of betrayal and suffering; the dawning horror of his arrest and the out of control steam roller that became his death; the pain, anguish and heartache watching his final surrender to all that humanity at its worst could throw at him; his death…
And then, as we mourned, more confusion. He wasn’t dead after all, but was alive. What to think, what to do?
So we did what we could. We gathered together. To comfort, for protection, to try to work it all out.
Of course the authorities would think it was us. That we had somehow removed the body and were making up stories to make it seem like we weren’t fools, following a broken dream; that we hadn’t been deluded; that we weren’t wrong about Jesus.
As we sat, in shock, in wondering, in fear, suddenly there he was. Just when we needed him, Jesus came to us and was amongst us, present in all those tumbling, whirling emotions; still there in the reality of our lives.
But he wasn’t just appearing to reassure us, though that was important. He also came to remind us that the work was not done. His death and resurrection are not the end, but a new beginning. We are to now the ones to go and to show others God’s ways. All that Jesus showed us, we are to pass on and to live out, to bring his forgiveness and hope to the world.
A hope, even for those who find it hard to believe it.
Thomas wasn’t there, he thought he’d missed out, that the resurrected Jesus wasn’t for him. Jesus got that and came just for him. Came so that he could touch the wounds and know their healing in his life. God wasn’t worried by his continued doubts and ongoing worries, he came to meet them and reassure.
So, however we are left feeling after Easter, sad, happy, bemused, confused, empowered, or any combination, God comes to us, says, ‘Peace be with you’. He invites us to know his reality in our lives today, and sends us to get on with the work – his work, before us.
Thank you Lord
That you are with me
Thank you for being with me,
bringing your peace
and meeting me where I need it.
that I can touch your wounds
and know the reality of your love
and empowered by you,
may I go
and do all you ask of me –
to take your words
to all who need to hear